President Benigno S. Aquino III congratulates Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery former Senator Panfilo Lacson after administering the oath in a ceremony at the President’s Hall of the Malacañan Palace on Tuesday (December 10). The “rehabilitation czar” is the man in charge to oversee the overall efforts being undertaken by the national government in reconstructing the areas destroyed by super typhoon Yolanda in the Visayas region. (MNS photo)

President Benigno S. Aquino III congratulates Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery former Senator Panfilo Lacson after administering the oath in a ceremony at the President’s Hall of the Malacañan Palace on Tuesday (December 10). The “rehabilitation czar” is the man in charge to oversee the overall efforts being undertaken by the national government in reconstructing the areas destroyed by super typhoon Yolanda in the Visayas region. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) – The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has belied former Senator Panfilo Lacson’s claims that this year’s budget contains over P400 billion in lump-sum funds, and a new version of the partially unconstitutional Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

In a statement, the DBM said the 2015 spending plan contains “fewer” lump sums—or budget items that have not been itemized—compared to previous years.

“Mr. Lacson’s doomsday assertions on lump sums and the supposed resurrection of DAP under the 2015 budget are inaccurate. A careful reading of the National Budget would prove that quickly enough,” the DBM said in its media release.

The agency even said that it is “unclear” how Lacson arrived at the P424-billion lump-sum figure he presented during a speech before accountants on Monday. The former senator earlier said these funds were found in the budget 11 government agencies.

“We must not mislead the public by implying that lump sums in the budget are tantamount to fund irregularity. It’s true that most budget items ought to be disaggregated, exactly as we have done,” the DBM said.

“But it’s true as well that some budget items, by their very nature, must be expressed in lump sums, so that the government can continue to deliver goods and services in the face ofz contingencies,” the agency added.

To further illustrate its point, the Budget Department said 87 percent of this year’s P378-billion Special Purpose Funds has been disaggregated. These funds include allocations for vacant government posts, state-ran corporations, and for disaster preparedness.

The DBM further explained that all remaining lump sums in the 2015 national budget have specific purposes that are “impossible to determine in the planning process.”

“For example: we cannot foretell where disasters will strike or what the extent of the potential damage might be, so the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund is necessarily a lump-sum,” the agency explained.

As to Lacson’s claim that the DAP has been revived in the 2015 budget, the DBM said the provisions on the controversial economic stimulus program are not in the 2015 spending plan.

In July last year, the Supreme Court struck down certain acts in the DAP, particularly the act of declaring unreleased and unobligated funds as savings.

The DBM further urged Lacson to reach out to the agency if he has misgivings about the national budget.

“At a time when public interest in the budget is extraordinarily high, it is only appropriate that public servants protect the people’s right to truthful and accurate information, especially when it comes to government spending,” the agency said. (MNS)