Aquino: DAP is not Pork Barrel
by FFE PH News staff
President Aquino defended the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) and the President’s Social Fund (PSF) yesterday evening on nationally televised speech.
‘Let me make it clear: the Disbursement Acceleration Program is not pork barrel,’ the president said. ‘DAP is not theft. Theft is illegal. Spending through DAP is clearly allowed by the Constitution and by other laws.’
He explained that the funds came from savings, collections and revenues from agencies and that these were allocated for projects that had a clear benefit for the country. He added that the funds were given only to agencies that were capable of implementing their projects.
‘We looked for programmes under implementing agencies that had proven themselves to be fast and efficient, and we channeled our savings into these programs — together with the additional revenue of the government.’
Aquino cited a number of projects, such as Project NOAH, that directly benefitted from DAP funding. He added that ‘According to the World Bank, DAP contributed 1.3% points to our [economic] growth in the fourth quarter of 2011.’
As for the PSF, the president said it served those ‘sudden needs’ where money had to be ‘disbursed quickly.’ He cited the funding for the victims of the 2011 Typhoon Sendong as an example.
The president also issued a warning to those who misused the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and said his administration will go after them. ‘If you think that this will stop me from going after you, if you think that you can divert the public’s attention, if you think you can get away with stealing from our countrymen – you have sorely underestimated me and the Filipino people.’
Prospero E. de Vera III of the UP College of Public Administration and Governance said that ‘by saying that those involved with corruption … must be prosecuted, the president must now heed the demand of the opposition to charge all those named in the Commission on Audit (CoA) report and that his allies must not be spared.’
He added ‘By also asserting that the DAP improved the economy and accelerated growth then DBM must now disclose all projects funded by DAP and show that these really contributed to growth.’
Experts believe that the speech was timely, especially since Aquino’s ratings for the third quarter of 2013 dipped. According to a Social Weather Stations survey last month, public satisfaction of the president’s performance fell 15 points from the second quarter of the year. A separate poll by Pulse Asia also showed that trust ratings for the president went down by 1 point in September.
A petition questioning the constitutionality of the DAP is now in the hands of the Supreme Court and is pending comments by November 7.