Makabayan bloc: Pork barrel still exists

The Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) has been declared illegal by the Supreme Court last February 2015 ruling that the so-called stimulus package is unconstitutional.

In an interview with Interaksyon, Kabataan Partylist Representative Terry Ridon said there are DAP-like provisions in the P3-trillion proposed budget for 2016.

According to Ridon, provisions regarding the redefinition of savings that were present in the 2015 General Appropriations Act (GAA) are also in the 2016 budget.

The lawmaker cited Section 63 of the General Provisions of the budget where the use of savings was allowed (1) as a result of a discontinuance of a program, activity or project by the agency concerned; (2) when the agency will not be able to implement the program, activity or project in the Financial Year 2016; (3) cost of the contract is lower than what was approved; and unused personnel services cost.

In Section 64, the use of savings to cover for the expenses of an existing program, activity or project is allowable within the scope of powers of an agency.

Both sections, according to Ridon, gives the President additional power in the release and handling of public funds. It also minimizes the role of Congress in the budget allocation and will essentially legalize “post-enactment fund juggling,” Ridon said.

In an interview with the State of the Nation, Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares said the additional two definitions of savings was just a way to divert the Supreme Court’s ruling.

Colmenares gave an example; saying the government might allocate P10 million for the extension of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT), but because a right of way has been declared, the money that was supposedly for the project will then be called savings because it was not implemented.

In the same report, Department of Budget and Management Secretary Florencio Abad said that the latest budget has no pork. Abad also clarified that the budget cannot be used in anomalous transactions.

For his part, Senator Ping Lacson said he is also readying his complaints against certain provisions in the proposed budget.

Source :

Interaksyon, GMA

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