MANILA (Mabuhay) — A day after his televised speech defending the disbursement acceleration program, President Aquino took a different tack and enumerated several projects funded by the DAP that could not wait until the end of the year.
The President also said he does not bear a grudge against the Supreme Court for voting unanimously to declare as unconstitutional several acts under the DAP.
“Let me make it clear: I bear no grudge or ill will against the Supreme Court. That is not why we have consistently expressed our opposition to their ruling, or why we have decided to file a Motion for Reconsideration. In pursuing this course of action, we subscribe to the long-held belief that public office is a public trust—trust given us in the form of a mandate that we in government, whether in the legislative, executive, or judicial branches, will always work for the good of the country,” he said in his speech during a Daylight Dialogue in Malacanang.
In his speech, Aquino said 50 percent of the P144 billion in DAP spending went to the Bangko Sentral, the Department of Public Works and Highways and housing projects.
He said P10 billion of the General Appropriations Act plus an additional P30 billion from DAP was used to recapitalize the Central Bank. A total of P33 billion went to construction and rehabilitation of roads, bridges, flood control projects and other critical infrastructure while P11 billion went to housing.
Other projects that got funding from the DAP include hospitals, health centers, livelihood projects, preservation of key tourism and heritage sites, state universities and colleges and the hiring of nurses and midwives.
DAP was also used to settle a P3.46 billion balance of unpaid GSIS or government pension premium payments.
“These unpaid premiums had kept almost 800,000 teaching and non-teaching personnel in the Department of Education from receiving their just benefits. Now, these personnel can receive their pensions – and access not only the full benefits due them but other benefits as well, including loans for their children’s education,” he said.
The President said the DAP is perfectly legal as stated in the Administrative Code of 1987.
He said previous presidents had their own versions of the DAP including the Reserve Control Account and the Overall Savings which were used in part to respond to the Asian financial crisis and the Fiscal Crisis. He said these former presidents also exercised the authority to transfer appropriations or savings to other branches of government and even to Constitutional Commissions.
Aquino said the Supreme Court decision to declare parts of the DAP unconstitutional is “deeply unsettling not only because our honorable justices failed to take into consideration all our legal bases for DAP, but also and more importantly because their ruling will have a chilling effect on our economy – and consequently on millions of Filipinos.”
He said programs and projects under DAP have already been suspended as a result of the SC decision.
“I find it difficult to accept the decision of the Supreme Court, when it goes against the benefit our countrymen…I chose to run for the Presidency, to accept the challenge to do so, to do my part in moving the country further along the path to progress, and I cannot support any ruling that severely limits government’s capacity to serve its people in the quickest manner possible,” he said. (MNS)