By Joey Natividad
CITY of NAGA, Bicol Region, 05Oct2013 (BicolToday.com) – The rediscovery of Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) as another form of port barrel has drawn reaction “as undemocratic” from a think-tank group which specializes on monitoring economic trends on labor and various political, social and income groups.
Aside from being “undemocratic”, DAP does not serve, neither as accelerator of growth as envisioned, nor its spending was translated to overall increased of jobs, nor trigger a downturn in poverty incidence.
DAP rediscovery was spin-off from on-going investigations on the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), which intentional misuse of billions of pesos by lawmakers has placed in question the integrity of both Senate and House of Representatives, the legislative branch of the government.
Research group IBON said DAP, like PDAF should be done away with absolutely, since it has not been proven to give impact positively on the economy.
“No discretionary funds have been proven to help uplift the Philippine economy precisely because of their undemocratic nature, giving traditional politicians the leeway to utilize such in patronage politics and to engage in corruption,” IBON executive director Sonny Africa informed Bicol Today.com yesterday.
Africa said DAP, which Malacanang claimed to have been created in 2011 “to accelerate spending and address low GDP growth at that time” is proving to be just another sheet among layers of discretionary funds maintained by the Aquino government.
According to Africa, discretionary funds are harmful to the economy as such funds are arbitrary and wasteful.
“Even if these are dubbed social or developmental in nature, allocating discretionary funds for individual officials’ projects that are, neither coordinated nor systematically integrated into government’s socio-economic plan from the beginning, is not the way to improve the economy,” he said.
He opined discretionary funds are wasteful and can go straight to the pocket of politicians and their middlemen as in the case of unimplemented projects.
The IBON executive also said Malacanang has yet to explain the expose’ about dubious spending of some Malampaya funds that are directly under Presidential discretion.
In a previous statement, IBON echoed that some Php21.5 billion from the Php173 billion Malampaya funds have been misspent on non-energy-related infrastructure and agriculture projects, contrary to the fund’s original purpose.
“It is fallacious to point to DAP as an accelerator of growth, purportedly being a source of funds for high-impact projects such as massive public works and infrastructure projects”, Africa added.
IBON noted that previous quarters showing Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate to be above 7%, increased government spending on construction and infrastructure did not translate to overall increased jobs or a downturn in poverty incidence. [BicolToday.com]