7 THINGS PNoy SAID IN SONA 2013 AND HOW HE DELIVERED ON THEM (OR NOT)  

Ahead of President Benigno Aquino III's fifth State of the Nation Address on Monday, we take a look back at last year’s SONA, in which he set people’s expectations for the second half of 2013 and the first half of this year. How well did he deliver on his promises? Here are seven excerpts from SONA 2013, and a look at how his administration delivered, or didn’t. “Lumisan man ang bagyo, ‘di naman humuhupa ang pagsisikap nating maibalik sa normal ang buhay ng mga pamilyang nasalanta ng mga nagdaang kalamidad (Even after the storms have passed, our work to restore normalcy to the lives of calamity-struck families does not end.).”

During last year’s SONA, Aquino touted the 8,377 houses the government and the private sector built for the survivors of Tropical Storm Sendong, and the 53,106 they planned to distribute to the survivors of Typhoon Pablo. Of the latter, he said that 35,447 would be completed this year. The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council on Monday said that Typhoon Glenda, which struck July 16, left 97 dead, 437 injured, and six missing. Over P16 million worth of relief goods and medicine were provided for affected areas by the Department of Social Welfare and Development, local government units, and nongovernmental organizations. * READ THE FULL REPORT...

ALSO: At SONA everyone is free to wear whatever color they please - Palace 

JULY 26 --AFTER being accused of unnecessarily polarizing the nation with his calls for supporters to wear yellow ribbons, Malacañang said on Friday people attending President Benigno S. Aquino’s State of the Nation Address on Monday are free to wear whatever color they please. “Everyone is free to wear the color that would flatter their figures, let’s put it at that,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte told reporters during the daily Palace media briefing. The President himself is not expected to wear a yellow barong either, but he will likely be sporting his trademark yellow ribbon, she said. Last week, Aquino called on Filipinos to wear yellow ribbons to show their support for his outlawed Disbursement Acceleration Program, but the call was met with charges that the call polarized the nation and relected the Aquino administration’s purported attitude of exclusion. “It is a self-serving call, childish and baduy [tacky],” said activist Renato Reyes Jr. “He is dividing the nation.

People don’t really care about yellow ribbons anyway. The message he is sending is a dangerous one: that if you are not yellow, you are the enemy; that if you are not with us, then you are against us.” Some activists instead responded to Aquino’s call by wearing peach ribbons to symbolize their support for moves to impeach the President while members of the judiciary wore red and black ribbons to show their protest against Aquino’s supposed vendetta against the judiciary. Valte declined to reveal if or how Aquino will address the DAP issue in his state-of-the-nation address, but said the speech is still a work in progress and presidential speechwriters are still checking facts to be tackled in the President’s fifth SONA. “A lot of the work goes into vetting correct facts that may or may not end up in the final speech. Nothing is final until the President delivers it from the podium,” she said. * READ MORE...

ALSO: ‘PNoy OKd P150b for own funds’ 

JULY 26 --PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III approved the pooling of P150.6 billion in “savings” from the national budget to the Disbursement Acceleration Program to augment his own discretionary funds, Palace documents signed by the President and submitted to the Supreme Court show. The documents showed that in 2011 alone, the President impounded P72.11 billion from the General Appropriations Act and diverted these amounts to fund various pork barrel projects of President Aquino, congressmen, senators and local officials. The Palace also renamed what Commission on Audit chairman Grace Pulido-Tan described as the “kahindik-hindik” VILP or “various infrastructure local projects” to “various other local projects” or VOLP in documents submitted to the Supreme Court as well as its sanitized list of 116 DAP projects. In the previous administration, the VILP was used for purely hard projects such as infrastructure.

Under Aquino administration’s VOLP, the infrastructure projects such as farm-to-market roads, irrigation and bridges were lumped with mangrove reforestation, mangrove farming, multi-species hatchery and aqua-silviculture among others, which the petitioners against the DAP claimed could not be easily accounted for unless subjected to a strict audit. Since the DAP was approved by the President merely five months into his term on Nov. 25, 2010, not one of the P150.6-billion worth of DAP projects had been accounted for and subjected to an audit by COA.

In a memorandum to the President, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, in seeking the President’s approval, said the Department of Budget and Management found savings from the completed or discontinued projects that may be pooled “to provide for new activities which have not been anticipated during the preparation of the budget, to augment additional requirements of ongoing priority projects.” “[The pooled savings were] to provide for deficiencies under the Special Purpose Funds, e.g., PDAF, Calamity Fund, Contingency Fund,” the DBM memo approved and signed by the President on Oct. 12, 2011. Based on the documents obtained by the Manila Standard, the single biggest beneficiary of the DAP was the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, headed by Gov. Mujib Hataman, a member of the ruling Liberal Party, with a P8.592 billion in allocation. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Airport issue puts DAP in question 

JULY 26 --When Binay demanded that Abad produce an official “competent enough to answer the questions” about the airport, he got no help from Abaya’s predecessor in the Transportatio Department, now Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II, who was seated in the VIP gallery. Recto expressed dismay over the excuses that Abad and Abaya offered. “I could not understand why the repair and rehabilitation of the airports, seaports and lighthouses would be abandoned when these could have accelerated and spurred economic growth,” Recto told the panel.

Addressing Abaya, Recto said he was “impressed” at the way the budget for the airports, including the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal I, tagged one of the worst airports in the world, was presented to Congress. “I was impressed. It was presented in a way that gave the impression that everything had been threshed.... It was even itemized. So the budget was approved on that premise,” Recto said.

Binay said based on the documents that the Palace submitted to the Supreme Court, Abaya wrote a letter to Abad complying to the Department of Budget and Management’s request to provide the DBM with a list of projects for withdrawal. Abaya told the Budget Department that there were P6.064 billion worth or projects from the 2012 budget and P8.5 billion Thus, Binay said, Abaya told the DBM his department could offer a total of P14.5 billion worth of projects from the 2012 and 2103 budgets, including the budget for 22 airports, seaports and lighthouses nationwide. “On these shelved projects, did you even conduct research [about whether]... these projects have a multiplier effect compared to those you have approved under DAP?” Binay asked Abad. * READ MORE...

ALSO: ‘Support for PNoy’ from Negros Occidental

JULY 25 --OFFICIALS of Negros Occidental led by Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. and Vice Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson signed a manifesto of support for President Benigno S. Aquino III amid the controversy on the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) hounding his administration. The manifesto, which has the signatures of 21 mayors, 11 board members, and two local business leaders, came out three days before the President delivers his State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Monday. In the manifesto, the Negrense officials cited the several projects the Aquino administration has extended to the province as they appeal to the Supreme Court to reconsider its decision declaring key portions of the DAP unconstitutional.

"As leaders of various local government units in Negros Occidental, we are very much aware of the importance of the budget system in the government’s effort to promote a stable economy and spur the country’s economic growth. A responsive budget system is vital in ensuring that the government will be able to immediately address the needs of its people," the manifesto reads. It added, "One measure of the responsiveness of the budget system is its ability to channel savings where they are needed, when they are needed. Oftentimes, despite due diligence in planning, things do not go the way government expected them to be due to events which even the most prudent person could never have foreseen. It will, therefore, help if there is a mechanism such as the DAP that will allow government enough flexibility to use public savings according to what current and future conditions may demand.” * READ MORE...

ALSO: ARMM leaders reaffirm support for Aquino 

JULY 25 --Photo from Facebook page of Sulu Gov Totoh Tan. The five provincial governors of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao reaffirmed their support for President Benigno Aquino III in the wake of the setback presented by the Supreme Court decision on the discredited Disbursement Acceleration Program. Governors Esmael Mangudadatu of Maguindanao, Abdusakur “Totoh” Tan Jr. of Sulu, Mamintal Adiong of Lanao del Sur, Jum Akbar of Basilan and Norbert Sahali of Tawi-Tawi issued a resolution of support for Aquino during a meeting Tuesday in Quezon City on Tuesday. ARMM officials maintain that DAP, key provisions of which were declared unconstitutional by the high court in a unanimous vote, benefited the region through the P8.5-billion Transition Investment Support Program, or “Stimulus Fund,” which funded the construction of farm-to-market roads, health centers and schools. The DAP ruling prompted ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman to order the suspension of all projects funded by the TISP even as he worried about obligations to contractors for completed work. Among the pending projects are around 30 health centers, ARMM Health Secretary Kadil Sinolinding said. THIS IS THE FULL REPORT

(ALSO) Palace: Not yet out of woods on DAP 

JULY 27 --Malacañang yesterday conceded that the crisis caused by the Disbursement Acceleration Fund (DAP) was not yet over. “No one is thinking that we are out of the woods or that we are off the hook,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said, adding the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) is preparing the list of programs and projects funded under regular savings, which Sen. Nancy Binay asked for during the Senate hearing last Thursday. The Palace announced that a special page on DAP has been put up on the government’s Official Gazette, as promised by Budget Secretary Florencio Abad during the Senate finance committee.

“The page http://www.gov.ph/featured/dap was created. It contains a briefer on the legal and constitutional basis for DAP, a link to the list of DAP projects, the Supreme Court decision, as well as the corresponding motion for reconsideration,” Valte said. Valte said the page reflects the administration’s thrust for transparency and confidence in the primacy of information in clarifying national issues. The government has appealed the decision of the SC declaring parts of the DAP unconstitutional. In Batangas City on Wednesday, President Aquino identified more projects funded by DAP and how they benefited the people. In his message during the commemoration of the 150th birth anniversary of Apolinario Mabini, the President said the government had allotted P1.6 billion in DAP funds for the programs of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to train 223,615 scholars, spending more than P7,000 per person. Some 66 percent or 146,731 of the graduates are now employed, he said. *READ MORE...


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7 things PNoy said in SONA 2013 and how he delivered on them (or not)


AQUINO: InterAksyon.com
The online news portal of TV5

MANILA, JULY 28, 2014 (INTERAKSYON.COM) By: Tricia Aquino - Ahead of President Benigno Aquino III's fifth State of the Nation Address on Monday, we take a look back at last year’s SONA, in which he set people’s expectations for the second half of 2013 and the first half of this year.

How well did he deliver on his promises? Here are seven excerpts from SONA 2013, and a look at how his administration delivered, or didn’t.

“Lumisan man ang bagyo, ‘di naman humuhupa ang pagsisikap nating maibalik sa normal ang buhay ng mga pamilyang nasalanta ng mga nagdaang kalamidad (Even after the storms have passed, our work to restore normalcy to the lives of calamity-struck families does not end.).”



During last year’s SONA, Aquino touted the 8,377 houses the government and the private sector built for the survivors of Tropical Storm Sendong, and the 53,106 they planned to distribute to the survivors of Typhoon Pablo. Of the latter, he said that 35,447 would be completed this year.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council on Monday said that Typhoon Glenda, which struck July 16, left 97 dead, 437 injured, and six missing. Over P16 million worth of relief goods and medicine were provided for affected areas by the Department of Social Welfare and Development, local government units, and nongovernmental organizations.

* Meanwhile, Supertyphoon Yolanda, which hit November 8 last year, left 6,293 dead, 28,689 injured, and 1,061 missing, as of the NDRRMC’s last update in April.

Among the aid given: 3,361,993 food and rice packs, 544,234 liters of water, 142,941 canned goods, and 244,444 high energy biscuits. As of December, 126 of the targeted 222 units of temporary shelter were completed.

209,685 households received basic emergency shelter materials, and 83,638 households received support for self-recovery like shelter repair kits, cash, and construction materials.

The Department of Education (DepEd) released over P1 million to construct makeshift classrooms.

Over P1 billion in relief assistance was provided.

However, aid organization International Organization for Migration said only eight percent of designated evacuation centers in Samar and Eastern Samar were usable as of June.

A joint government-nongovernmental organization report also revealed in the same month that more than 2.6 million survivors “remain at risk and without durable shelter.”

The 7.2-magnitude earthquake which rocked Bohol on October 15 last year left 222 dead, 976 injured, and eight missing. As of November, the total cost of assistance given by the DSWD, the Department of Health, LGUs, and NGOs amounted to over P71 million.

In June, Aquino authorized the release of almost P1 billion for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of 35 damaged state universities and colleges, and P1.9 billion for the DepEd’s and DSWD’s rehabilitation and recovery programs, following these disasters.

“Kaya nga po, ang layunin nating ilayo sa panganib ang mga [informal settler na] nagsisiksikan sa peligrosong bahagi ng lungsod: tinutupad na rin natin (This is why we are already fulfilling our goal to remove from harm’s way those who crammed themselves into high-risk areas of the city).”



* Aquino said the DSWD, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Public Works and Highways, National Housing Authority, and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority were working together to relocate 19,400 families living along the main waterways of Metro Manila to safer neighborhoods.

Following the SONA, 87 informal settler families living near San Juan River voluntarily dismantled their homes in August last year and relocated in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan as the pilot group for the government's Zero Casualty Program.

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said the government allocated P360 million for rental subsidy to be distributed to 19,440 informal settler families in eight major waterways in Metro Manila.

In January this year, Vice President Jejomar Binay also promised that some 300 informal settler families would have their own homes in San Juan, thanks to the construction of six buildings with a total of 348 units in San Juan City.

In February, the Department of Budget and Management released about P600 million to the NHA for the relocation of 2,069 informal settler families living in Pateros City.

They would be transferred to a housing project in Baras, Rizal.

In June, about 100 informal settler families living along Masalasa Creek in Tarlac were awarded lots on a relocation site in Tarlac City.

By the end of the month, P147.6 million worth of housing units had been distributed to 738 informal settlers who used to live in Maricaban Creek, Pasay City. They were also given 1,845 starter food packs, 550 health kits, and P18,000 financial assistance per family.

The clearing of the waterways would enable flood control projects to be implemented.

However, informal settlers in Manila's Port Area protested in August last year after being given a notice of demolition by the DPWH.

In January this year, informal settlers and police clashed in Agham Road, Quezon City, after demolition attempts on the land being developed by a private conglomerate.

“Inaayos na rin po natin ang problema sa madalas na pagbaha sa Kamaynilaan (We are also remedying the problem of flooding in Metro Manila).”



Aquino revealed that the government was allocating P6.2 billion for flood prevention in Metro Manila. One of the projects under this was the Blumentritt Interceptor Catchment, which would catch up to 14 Olympic-sized swimming pools of water. He said it would be completed this year.

He added that the relocation of informal settlers living along waterways would clear these.

Just a month after his SONA however, tropical storm Maring caused floods in various parts of Metro Manila, with boats needed to ply some of its roads.

The MMDA said that its newly built and better maintained pumping stations sped up the draining of the flood.

In September, however, parts of Taft Avenue and EDSA were impassable to light vehicles due to floods caused by the habagat. Other parts of Makati City, Pasay City, and Manila were also inundated.

Following this, the MMDA conducted rescue and de-clogging operations.

In November, Mayor Junjun Binay ordered flood control measures done in the Makati diversion channel, which the DPWH dredged daily.

In February this year, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said the government would spend P219.9 billion this year for flood control systems, among other infrastructure projects.

In a Cabinet meeting for the proposed 2015 national budget in July, the allocation for the DPWH's flood control and drainage projects increased from P34.8 billion to P38.6 billion.

In the same month, however, the government stopped a P5-billion flood control project in waterways in Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas, Valenzuela, Pasig, and Marikina as it was funded by the Disbursement Acceleration Program that the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional.

“Kaya naman, patuloy po tayong nagpupunla ng mga inisyatibang pihadong magbubunga ng higit na kaunlaran sa ating mga magsasaka (That is why we continue to sow initiatives that will certainly bear the fruits of even greater progress for our farmers).”



Aquino took pride in the decrease in the country’s rice import, from two million metric tons in 2010 to at most, 350,000 metric tons in 2013. He said the Philippines was on-track to rice self-sufficiency, and had even begun exporting.

For coconut farmers, he said that the government was pushing for intercropping to increase their income and productivity. From only about P20,000 per hectare annually for coconuts, they could earn up to P172,400 by planting coffee as well, and more by planting other crops.

434 sites for intercropping were targeted for 2013.

In October last year, the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) released P8.17 million worth of cash incentives to 4,506 earthquake-hit coconut farmers from provinces through a Cash-for-Work program.

In November, after the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) said it had completed the distribution of land in Hacienda Luisita, which is owned by Aquino's family, a farmer leader was murdered following the Tarlac Development Corp. and the Luisita Realty Corp. reportedly fenced off and deployed guards around 500 hectares of land.

The following month, farmers here accused the first firm of destroying 30 hectares of rice and vegetables they owned.

In January this year, the PCA set aside P2.8 billion for 440,000 farmers affected by Yolanda, to be used in seedling production, intercropping, and cash-for-work.

In April, Aquino released P1.05 billion for farmers affected by Yolanda for clearing and de-silting operations and for the purchase of tools, machinery, seeds, and fertilizers.

In June, the Department of Agrarian Reform distributed 245-hectare lands to 131 farmers in Agusan del Norte.

In the same month, Aquino certified as urgent a bill extending the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program until 2016, as over half a million hectares had yet to be distributed to farmers.

Also in June, the PCA declared the “cocolisap” issue an outbreak, with about 2.1 million coconut trees infested by the Aspidiotus rigidus insect. The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) announced that it would inject affected trees with insecticide at the rate of 22,000 trees per day.

“Kaya nga po: Nariyan ang maraming inisyatiba ng pamahalaan upang tulungang makaalpas sa lambat ng kahirapan ang ating mga mangingisda (We are also now steering our fishermen towards more productive waters).”



Aquino said that the government was implementing a number of initiatives such as building cold storage facilities, piers, roads, bridges, and other infrastructure so that fisherfolk could access the market more easily.

He added that the DILG, the Coast Guard, and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources were monitoring irresponsible and unrestrained fishing.

In November last year, BFAR replaced fish pens with fish cages in Lake Bito, Leyte for sustainable fishing.

In February this year, almost 70,000 kilos of fish died in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato, as the fish no longer had enough room to roam or food to eat due to the proliferation of fish cages. The local agriculture office distributed fingerlings to 52 fish cage operators as assistance.

BFAR Region XI also said it was expanding its campaign against dynamite fishing.

In the same month, BFAR, through government-private sector initiative Ahon! assisted 449 fisherfolk affected by Yolanda in Bantayan, Cebu, through about P1.8 million worth of boat repair tools.

50 new pumpboats, 50 repaired boats, 15 tons of seaweed seedlings, and 100 sets of fishing gear were also distributed.

Ahon! also gave 1,030 beneficiaries boat repair tools in Guiuan, Eastern Samar. As of March, 14,166 fishing boats were already provided for Yolanda-affected fishing communities.

It is now establishing cold storage facilities and ice plants.

In the same month, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the BFAR would provide "payao" (alternative fish sanctuary) devices for fisherfolk who wanted to fish without straying too far from the disputed Panatag Shoal.

In May, 70 percent of the fish cages of tilapia in Lake Bato, Camarines Sur, were hit by fishkill due to a change in water temperature, affecting more than 200 fish cage owners.

In June, the BFAR warned farmers in Caquipotan Channel in Pangasinan that the water's oxygen level was depleted, threatening to cause a fish kill.

“Ang madalas na pag-brownout sa Mindanao. …Sa ngayon, patuloy ang paggawa natin ng mga hakbang upang tugunan ang mga kakulangan at agarang pangangailangan ([F]or example, the recurring, rotating blackouts in Mindanao. …We have been working on a solution for this).”

Aquino assured that the government was addressing the recurring, rotating blackouts in Mindanao, but added that the problem could not be solved overnight. They began by aiding electric cooperatives in bringing in generator sets, as they waited for the construction of power plants to be completed, which could take two to three years.

At least two power plants underwent maintenance beginning August last year, causing brownouts. Department of Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla said that by 2015 to 2016, however, Mindanao could expect an oversupply of electricity thanks to new power plants.

In November, the National Power Corp. was able to secure P969 million for its capital expenditure projects in 2014.

In February this year, a trip in government-owned Pulang hydroelectric plant triggered a domino effect, causing an hours-long brownout.

In March, Mindanao's only coal-fired plant was damaged, causing rotating brownouts.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma said the DOE and private power stakeholders would repair the coal-fired power plant and existing hydroelectric power plants, among other initiatives.

By 2016, he said, three coal-fired power plants would go onstream.

With a unit of Mt. Apo Geothermal Plant undergoing preventive maintenance in April, and water levels decreasing in hydropower plants, Cotabato City and neighboring areas experienced rotating brownouts.

Thousands of residents rallied in May due to the unceasing brownouts.

At the time, they were experiencing brownouts ranging from six to 15 hours a day in North Cotabato, Maguindanao, Zamboanga City, Tacurong City, Cotabato City, Davao City, Surigao City, and Ozamiz City.

“Kailangang dumaan sa tamang proseso ang bawat proyekto, para masigurong ang perang inyong pinaghihirapan ay napupunta sa dapat nitong kalagyan (Each project has to go through the correct process to ensure that our taxpayers’ hard-earned money will be spent the right way).”



Aquino said in his SONA that Public-Private Partnership projects were being undertaken in an “honest, transparent, and clear way.” The government, he added, had no plans of entering into questionable contracts.

Their practices were bearing fruit, he said, noting that the Laguindingan Airport, Tacloban Airport, the Bicol International Airport, the New Bohol Airport, the Mactan Airport, and the Puerto Princesa Airport were being upgraded and modernized.

Just one month later, however, the bidding for the Light Rail Transit Line Cavite Extension Project failed, with only one of four parties submitting a bid. Worse, it was rejected because of unacceptable conditions. Two of the parties who withdrew their proposals said it was because of the project's financial risk.

Also in August, the Department of Transportation and Communications said it would implement a P56.5-billion roll-on, roll-off project which would cut travel time between Manila and Mindanao from two days to 20 hours.

After a slight delay in November due to Yolanda relief and rehabilitation, the National Economic and Development Authority board, chaired by Aquino, approved the LRT 1 South Extension Project; the MRT 7 Project; the LRT 1 North Extension Project–Common Station Project; the Mactan Cebu International Airport New Passenger Terminal Project; the Development of Transportation System at Food Terminal Inc. and Philippine Reclamation Authority; the Modernization of Philippine Orthopedic Center; and the Bulacan Bulk Water Supply Project.

By the end of the year, the Daang Hari-SLEX Link Road, the NAIA Expressway, the PPP for School Infrastructure Phase 1, the PPP for School Infrastructure Phase 2, and the Modernization of Philippine Orthopedic Center had been awarded.

By February this year, controversies delayed the Mactan Cebu International Airport because of an alleged conflict of interest on the part of the top bidder; the Philippine Orthopedic Center because of the privatization supposedly being anti-poor; and the Automated Fare Collection System because of a losing bidder's objection.

In June, Aquino approved three new PPP projects: the Laguna-Lakeshore Expressway Dike Project; Laguindingan Airport Development, Operation, and Maintenance; and the New Bohol Airport Development Operations and Maintenance Project.

In July, the Philippine Ports Authority said it would privatize three Mindanao ports under the PPP.

During both years, the government received funding from a number of countries through the Asian Development Bank to boost its PPP program.

FROM MANILA STANDARD

Everyone is free to wear whatever color they please - Valte
By Joyce Pangco Panares | Jul. 26, 2014 at 12:01am

AFTER being accused of unnecessarily polarizing the nation with his calls for supporters to wear yellow ribbons, Malacañang said on Friday people attending President Benigno S. Aquino’s State of the Nation Address on Monday are free to wear whatever color they please.

“Everyone is free to wear the color that would flatter their figures, let’s put it at that,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte told reporters during the daily Palace media briefing.

The President himself is not expected to wear a yellow barong either, but he will likely be sporting his trademark yellow ribbon, she said.

Last week, Aquino called on Filipinos to wear yellow ribbons to show their support for his outlawed Disbursement Acceleration Program, but the call was met with charges that the call polarized the nation and relected the Aquino administration’s purported attitude of exclusion.

“It is a self-serving call, childish and baduy [tacky],” said activist Renato Reyes Jr. “He is dividing the nation. People don’t really care about yellow ribbons anyway. The message he is sending is a dangerous one: that if you are not yellow, you are the enemy; that if you are not with us, then you are against us.”

Some activists instead responded to Aquino’s call by wearing peach ribbons to symbolize their support for moves to impeach the President while members of the judiciary wore red and black ribbons to show their protest against Aquino’s supposed vendetta against the judiciary.

Valte declined to reveal if or how Aquino will address the DAP issue in his state-of-the-nation address, but said the speech is still a work in progress and presidential speechwriters are still checking facts to be tackled in the President’s fifth SONA.

“A lot of the work goes into vetting correct facts that may or may not end up in the final speech. Nothing is final until the President delivers it from the podium,” she said.

* But security measures are already in place, she said.

“Policemen have been deployed. Everyone who will be airing out their grievances or airing their support will have their proper places in the sun,” Valte said.

But while the police have already determined that the scheduled protest rally at Batasang Pambansa on Monday poses no threat to national security, the Quezon City government nonetheless denied a request to hold a rally during President Benigno Aquino III’s State of the Nation Address.

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. said their lawyer Edre Olalia received a notification of their application for a rally permit from city public order chief Elmo San Diego, himself a former chief of the QC police.

“Please be informed that as per initial assessment of the Quezon City Police District disclosed that the rally will not pose danger to the national security,” according to San Diego’s notification, dated July 24, that Reyes posted on his Twitter account.

“However, their request to hold the rally in front of Batasan Pambansa Complex cannot be favorably granted as the area is not considered a freedom park, and there is not enough space to assemble in the area without obstructing the free flow of traffic,” the letter read.

Instead, San Diego said Bayan should hold their protest several kilometers away, at the freedom park near the Quezon City Hall, because the protest during the SONA at the Batasan last year became unruly and caused traffic congestion.

PNP spokesman Chief Superintendent Reuben Theodore Sindac also insisted that there is not security threat during the SONA, but traffic near the Batasan Complex will be rerouted on Monday and groups planning rallies will not be allowed beyond the Ever Commonwealth area.

Some parts of Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City may be closed to traffic at 6 a.m. Monday, with a Fairview-bound portion of the road open to counterflow while policemen will be stationed at IBP Road, San Mateo-Batasan Road, and Litex Road.

Sindac said the Presidential Security Group will be also be posted inside the Batasan Complex, but the police will be in charge of the overall security.

‘PNoy OKd P150b for own funds’ By Christine F. Herrera | Jul. 21, 2014 at 12:01am MANILA STANDARD

PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III approved the pooling of P150.6 billion in “savings” from the national budget to the Disbursement Acceleration Program to augment his own discretionary funds, Palace documents signed by the President and submitted to the Supreme Court show.

The documents showed that in 2011 alone, the President impounded P72.11 billion from the General Appropriations Act and diverted these amounts to fund various pork barrel projects of President Aquino, congressmen, senators and local officials.

The Palace also renamed what Commission on Audit chairman Grace Pulido-Tan described as the “kahindik-hindik” VILP or “various infrastructure local projects” to “various other local projects” or VOLP in documents submitted to the Supreme Court as well as its sanitized list of 116 DAP projects.

In the previous administration, the VILP was used for purely hard projects such as infrastructure.

Under Aquino administration’s VOLP, the infrastructure projects such as farm-to-market roads, irrigation and bridges were lumped with mangrove reforestation, mangrove farming, multi-species hatchery and aqua-silviculture among others, which the petitioners against the DAP claimed could not be easily accounted for unless subjected to a strict audit.

Since the DAP was approved by the President merely five months into his term on Nov. 25, 2010, not one of the P150.6-billion worth of DAP projects had been accounted for and subjected to an audit by COA.

In a memorandum to the President, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, in seeking the President’s approval, said the Department of Budget and Management found savings from the completed or discontinued projects that may be pooled “to provide for new activities which have not been anticipated during the preparation of the budget, to augment additional requirements of ongoing priority projects.”

“[The pooled savings were] to provide for deficiencies under the Special Purpose Funds, e.g., PDAF, Calamity Fund, Contingency Fund,” the DBM memo approved and signed by the President on Oct. 12, 2011.

Based on the documents obtained by the Manila Standard, the single biggest beneficiary of the DAP was the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, headed by Gov. Mujib Hataman, a member of the ruling Liberal Party, with a P8.592 billion in allocation.

* The former rebels belonging to the Cordillera People’s Liberation Army, Moro National Liberation Front and Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army were also granted P1.819 billion under the Office of the Presidential Adviser for Peace Process, purportedly for livelihood projects of the rebel-stronghold communities.

President Aquino also appropriated P2 billion for his home province Tarlac, the biggest DAP allocation for any province.

President Aquino also bypassed Vice President Jejomar Binay and granted P11.05 billion to National Housing Authority, whose general manager was appointed by him and reports directly to him.

While Binay sits as NHA chairman, the NHA general manager portfolio was placed under the Office of the President.

Most projects under the description VOLP were undertaken by the President’s party mates and trusted lieutenants Interior and Local Governments Secretary Manuel Roxas II, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, both members of the LP, and Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman and Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson.

Alcala’s department as granted P1.629 billion for irrigation, farm-to-market roads, and integrated community-based multi-species hatchery and acqusilviculture farming.

Instead of letting Binay handle he resettlement and housing projects for some 30,000 squatters, the President assigned the task—and the budget—to Roxas, Singson and Soliman.

Singson’s DPWH was granted P5.5 billion in VILP for quick-disbursing priority projects such as roads, bridges, and flood control projects which were supposed to be implemented by the district offices nationwide.

Some P6.5 billion was released for “PDAF augmentation” under VOLP as requested by congressmen, senators and local executives.

Another P6.5 billion was released under LGU Support Fund to buffer the P13.6 billion cut in the local government units’ share in their Internal Revenue Allotment to allow them to implement their projects.

The President assigned Roxas and Abad to jointly issue the guidelines and prescribed the menu for projects worth P6.5 billion for LGUs.

The petitioner against the DAP, including former national treasurer and Social Watch Philippines convener Leonor Magtolis Briones, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, led by its secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. and the Philippine Constitution Association headed by Leyte Rep. Ferdinand

Martin Romualdez–-demanded that the DAP-funded projects be subjected to an audit, the details of which must be made public.

“We demand that the details of the DAP-funded projects be made public because these were released by President Aquino without having undergone congressional and subsequently public scrutiny,” Briones told the Manila Standard.

“We want the President to account for these funds which he released under his discretionary powers without the approval of Congress that the Supreme Court found unconstitutional,” she said.

“The President insists that the funds went to the poor. What is his proof when not one project had been subjected to audit? The list released by the Palace was pure generalization. It did not have any details as to who and how much received the funds and where these funds went. What made him say the projects were graft-free?” Briones said.

“If indeed the DAP went to good use, what’s stopping the President from making public the details of these multi-billion-peso projects,” Briones said.

Reyes said as early as Feb. 17 this year, COA’s Tan had rejected their request to have the DAP projects audited, and told Bayan simply to wait for the COA’s regular audit.

Airport issue puts DAP in question MANILA STANDARD By Christine F. Herrera, Macon Ramos-Araneta | Jul. 26, 2014 at 12:01am


Binay, Recto show dismay over excuses of Abad, Abaya

SENATORS Nancy Binay and Ralph Recto on Friday said they were puzzled over the Palace’s definition of “economic stimulus” after it impounded and diverted some P14.5 billion meant to build up 22 key airports and seaports to projects with little or no economic impact.

At the hearing of the Senate committee on finance, chaired by Senator Francis Escudero, Binay and Recto took turns in grilling Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, who testified on the virtues of the Disbursement Acceleration Program, parts of which the Supreme Court has declared as unconstitutional.

Questions from Binay and Recto seemed to put Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya on defensive, who professed repeatedly that he was “still a congressman” at the time.


Assault on Lady Justice. Students, teachers and members of the women’s group Gabriela depict
what they claimed was the Aquino administration’s assault on Lady Justice after President Benigno
Simeon Aquino III hit the Supreme Court for ruling against the Disbursement Acceleration
Program. Lino Santos

When Binay demanded that Abad produce an official “competent enough to answer the questions” about the airport, he got no help from Abaya’s predecessor in the Transportatio Department, now Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II, who was seated in the VIP gallery.

Recto expressed dismay over the excuses that Abad and Abaya offered.

“I could not understand why the repair and rehabilitation of the airports, seaports and lighthouses would be abandoned when these could have accelerated and spurred economic growth,” Recto told the panel.

Addressing Abaya, Recto said he was “impressed” at the way the budget for the airports, including the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal I, tagged one of the worst airports in the world, was presented to Congress.

“I was impressed. It was presented in a way that gave the impression that everything had been threshed.... It was even itemized. So the budget was approved on that premise,” Recto said.

Binay said based on the documents that the Palace submitted to the Supreme Court, Abaya wrote a letter to Abad complying to the Department of Budget and Management’s request to provide the DBM with a list of projects for withdrawal.

Abaya told the Budget Department that there were P6.064 billion worth or projects from the 2012 budget and P8.5 billion

Thus, Binay said, Abaya told the DBM his department could offer a total of P14.5 billion worth of projects from the 2012 and 2103 budgets, including the budget for 22 airports, seaports and lighthouses nationwide.

“On these shelved projects, did you even conduct research [about whether]... these projects have a multiplier effect compared to those you have approved under DAP?” Binay asked Abad.

* Abad said the government usually deploys an account management team to check on the projects to avoid being accused of being arbitrary in declaring projects “slow-moving.”

“We don’t do this unilaterally. We don’t just simply say give us that budget. We talk to the agencies and find out in June or July, if they think they can push through with the project. Sometimes, Public Works will tell us that the right of way issues are still in court, and if we wait for that, that could take us into next year. Get the budget and use it elsewhere,” Abad said.

Abad admitted that the DOTC’s P14.5 billion budget for airports was consolidated under the administration’s “pooled savings” for the DAP.

“Last week, a septic tank in NAIA I exploded. Yet we shelved these projects for another project,” Binay remarked.

Abad said the reason for the delay in implementing the projects was that they found “structural defects in the facility.”

“Aren’t you supposed to have studied and checked on the projects before you come to Congress and seek funding for these? So why do you need to study the NAIA 1 again?” Binay asked.

When Abad said the NAIA 1 buidling needed to undergo a stress test, Binay demanded to know where the funds for the testing would come from.

“Wasn’t that part of the budget for the NAIA 1 terminal rehabilitation [that was impounded]?” she said.

Abad then turned to Abaya and asked him to explain.

Abaya explained that the department initially planned to simply renovate the terminal, but then the Public Works Department noted that it was a 30-year-old building and there might be structural problems.

Abaya also said they wanted to rehabilitate the airport without shutting it down, and that the work would be complete by the end of February 2015.

But Binay also demanded Abaya and Abad explain where the budget of P549.18 million for upgrading and rehabilitating the passenger concourse, waiting area, restrooms and lobby went.

“This project was shelved. Have you been to our airports? They are shameful, but this project was withdrawn for the DAP,” Binay said.

Abaya said he was not yet Transportation secretary at the time when the project was withdrawn, and that he merely carried out the program of his predecessor, Roxas.

“What was the cause of delay for this project? Is it hard to rehabilitate a toilet?” Binay demanded.

Abad said the delay might have been caused by the administration’s practice of procuring all materials for multiple projects from a common source to save money.

“But wasn’t this the reason for DAP – that we needed to accelerate the program? I don’t see why these projects didn’t fit that criteria,” Binay said.

“Well, the toilets and the restrooms weren’t a recipient of DAP,” Abaya said.

“That’s what I mean. You took that funding and gave it to the DAP, am I correct? You withdrew the P549 million,” Binay replied.

Abaya again told her that she was still in Congress at the time.

“So who is competent enough to answer?” Binay shot back.

“What happened then was that in anticipation, we, at the time... admitted that it could not be implemented,” Abaya said.

“Why not?” Binay said.

““I was in Congress then, ma’am,” Abaya said again.

Abad came to the Abaya’s rescue, saying that the DAP was not meant just for accelerating spending but also obtaining savings for the government by “spending wisely.”

“In terms of service, many would be helped if the facilities in the airport were fixed. So it meets the two criteria for DAP projects,” Binay insisted.

But Abad said the government chose to delay the projects so that it could go for a “bulk purchase” to obtain greater savings.

“This is to make sure nothing is wasted and as much as possible, we get optimum results from the investment,” Abad said.

“So why ask this amount from Congress?” Binay retorted.

“Didn’t you tell Congress that we needed P549 million for this project, which Congress approved? Then in the middle of the year, you will say you want to go for bulk purchases? This shows a lack of foresight when it comes to planning and budgeting,” Binay added.

“Who is at fault? Don’t you agree that somebody must answer for the delayed project?”

Escudero broke the exchange at this point, and reminded Binay that the funds withdrawn also included seaports and lighthouses.

“So I think the question really is, on the part of Congress, why did the Executive propose that to begin with, only to tell the Secretary of DBM halfway through the year that we will take those funds away?” Escudero said.

Escudero reminded Abad that when he was still a congressman and the chairman of the House committee on appropriations, this was a common complaint among lawmakers.

“The Aquino administration resolved to be fair, and kept proposing budgets for the Education Department for 15,000 or 20,000 teachers, year in and year out, and we approve it. But year in year out DepEd only hires 8,000 or 7,000—are the rest considered savings?”

Escudero also reminded Abad that for the 2014 budget, the number for teachers was reduced because everybody knew the DepEd could not hire 15,000 teachers at the start of the year.

But in the case of the airports, seaports and lighthouses, Escudero said, there was a specific list of projects worth P14.5 billion for two years, which was later withdrawn.

Abaya said that in the case of the NAIA, because of the structural problems, they had to hire a consultant from abroad who could certify a “performance-based design.”

“So as required by the procurement law, we had to publish, we had to get various interested parties, and eventually we procured,” Abad said.

But they also had to make sure the airport would not be closed during the renovation, which added to the delay, he added.

Abad said the problems were such that “even the best of the secretaries couldn’t foresee” when they submitted the budget to Congress.

“For the toilets, what really took long was the program of works of thousands of comfort rooms in all LTO, LTFRB, airports and ports—that took time. In hindsight now I see the DOTC really lacked the organization and personnel to handle the budget that we had to push out all these projects. We are currently adjusting the organization, hiring people because it’s only now in this administration that we have the opportunity of resources, of really catching up on infrastructure,” Abaya said.

But Escudero chided Abad, saying two-thirds of the term of President Benigno Aquino III was gone.

“You only have one-third remaining, even less than that, isn’t it a bit late for you to realize these things at this time?” Escudero said.

Abaya said the lighthouses had right of way issues—leading Binay to conclude that the administration was not serious about the projects they submit to Congress. “The mere fact that there were right of way problems, why ask for the budget when you know these issues stand in the way of those project?” she said.

On Friday, Binay said Abad was not off the hook, even though he survived the grilling in the Senate.

“Somebody should be held liable. Remember that this is the people’s money that we are talking about and there is still P90 billion missing in the government’s ‘savings’. Secretary Abad owes the

Filipino people an explanation on where these funds went,” Binay said.

While the government pooled P237 billion in savings since 2010, she said only P167 billion went to the DAP.

Binay said they were also able to establish during last Thursday’s Senate hearing on DAP that although the government approved P157 billion proposed projects under the acceleration program, only P144.3 billion was released under DAP.

She pointed out in the same hearing that some appropriations did not fall under the Department of Budget and Management’s list of 116 projects funded by the controversial program.

Based on records, DBM gave the Commission on Elections additional funding worth P4.1 billion intended to be used to purchase precinct count optical scan machines for the 2013 mid-term polls.

The request for additional funding was made after its proposed P17 billion budget was cut down to P7 billion.

In one of the Senate hearings, Commission on Audit chiefperson Grace Pulido-Tan admitted they received P5 million for a vehicle purchse supposedly taken from the P143 million funding for the agency’s IT infrastructure program and hiring of litigation experts.

The opposition senator asked Abad why COA’s vehicle request was not reflected in the DAP list.

Binay said she was also surprised to learn from Abad that the P4.1 billion given to Comelec did not come from DAP and it appeared that—aside from the list of projects whose funds came from the DAP—there was another savings mechanism where funds for other government projects are sourced.

“The funding released to Comelec and COA were not listed under the 116 projects funded by DAP. It appears that there is another list of projects—projects which are being funded by DBM from regular savings,” Binay said.

Binay said Abad failed to answer when asked if the funds came from the DAP.

“We’re not yet done in asking where the government’s savings went. Secretary Abad and the DBM should account for all of these savings—where did they go and who benefitted from them,” Binay added.

Senator Jinggoy Estrada, who remains jailed for a P10 billion plunder case, said the Senate lost another chance to redeem itself and to rise above partisan politics during the Senate hearing on the DAP.

“Lucky for Secretary Abad, there were a lot of members of the Senate who made the task of explaining the rationale and defending the implementation of the DAP easy for him. At times, all he has to do was to concur and merely agree with the defense prepared by the administration allies,” said Estrada, who watched the entire proceedings at the detention facility where he and Senator Ramon Revilla Jr. are being held.

“It was quite observable that with the present composition of the committee and the chamber in general, the hearing looked like a well scripted and rehearsed production,” he said.

He pointed out that the scenario was not dissimilar to the Blue Ribbon Committee’s series of investigations on the alleged pork barrel scam where the obvious bias and partiality of some of the members showed.

“Save for a few colleagues, like Senator Nancy Binay... the Senate seemed like a rah-rah squad for the Budget Department,” Estrada said.

Escudero brushed aside criticism that Thursday’s hearing was a “deodorant” for the DAP.

Interviewed over ANC’s Headstart, Escudero said nobody can dictate upon the senators what to ask.

“If they are allies or if they will take [the government] to task for DAP, we cannot limit and control that,” said Escudero.

Escudero said the Senate hearing was an important venue where the government was afforded the opportunity to answer questions hounding the DAP and the public a chance to hear their answers.

He said Abad, who has been tagged the architect of DAP, was also given a chance to answer questions from the senators.

When asked if he was satisfied with Abad’s opening statement justifying the DAP, Escudero said that was “water under the bridge.”

“ Whether he disagrees with it, how correct were they or how they see the court as wrong, the court had already decided. The question—moving on, moving forward, is what are we going to do? Which among the DAP violated the Constitution as penned by by the Supreme Court decision? Which of them were not wrong?” said Escudero.

He also asked what the government would do to rectify the wrongs cited by the Supreme Court.

“Will they continue ith the project? Will they pay the contractors? In the 2015 budget, how will we address this and be compliant with the Supreme Court decision?” he added.

He said that from the hearing, they were able to establish that it is the President that decides where to put the funds after going through deliberations with a Cabinet cluster, based on the inputs of the secretaries concerned.

Escudero also played down the violations of the Constitution in the DAP program, saying that the previous administration was worse.

Also on Friday, Health Secretary Enrique Ona expressed disappointment with Binay for criticizing the P70 million given to the Lung Center of the Philippines for stem cell research.

“I’m so disappointed with the senator to be saying that... rather than supporting opportunities for our doctors to do all types of research, not just for stem cell,” Ona said.

Binay had asked if the money would be better spent on hospital beds in public hospitals.

But Ona said reseach cannot be compared to beds.

“When we talk about the amount of research, it’s about the effects on the lives of the people. So we cannot compare this, for example, to what she’s saying about the lack of hospital beds. Since we started (in 2010), we have distributed more than 8,000 beds all over the country,” Ona said.

FROM SUNSTAR

Support for PNoy’ By Teresa Ellera  Saturday, July 26, 2014

OFFICIALS of Negros Occidental led by Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. and Vice Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson signed a manifesto of support for President Benigno S. Aquino III amid the controversy on the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) hounding his administration.

The manifesto, which has the signatures of 21 mayors, 11 board members, and two local business leaders, came out three days before the President delivers his State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Monday.

In the manifesto, the Negrense officials cited the several projects the Aquino administration has extended to the province as they appeal to the Supreme Court to reconsider its decision declaring key portions of the DAP unconstitutional.

"As leaders of various local government units in Negros Occidental, we are very much aware of the importance of the budget system in the government’s effort to promote a stable economy and spur the country’s economic growth. A responsive budget system is vital in ensuring that the government will be able to immediately address the needs of its people," the manifesto reads.

It added, "One measure of the responsiveness of the budget system is its ability to channel savings where they are needed, when they are needed. Oftentimes, despite due diligence in planning, things do not go the way government expected them to be due to events which even the most prudent person could never have foreseen. It will, therefore, help if there is a mechanism such as the DAP that will allow government enough flexibility to use public savings according to what current and future conditions may demand.”

* The officials said, “Negros Occidental is very fortunate to have enjoyed the generosity of His Excellency whose programs through the DAP have benefitted the poorest of poor in the province.”

For the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps alone, close to P3 billion was appropriated to Negros Occidental, on top of the over P 1 billion for agricultural enhancement and productivity, infrastructure and health care, among others, they said.

“We are expressing our full support to His Excellency, President Benigno S. Aquino III, in his resolve to appeal the decision of the Supreme Court declaring the DAP as unconstitutional. With due respect to the High Court, we believe that their decision on the DAP failed to take into account the realities of the budget process. The decision will expectedly hinder the country’s growth as it will compel the government to undergo the same lengthy process before it can make use of public savings to address the urgent needs,” they further said.

“We, thus, hope that the Supreme Court will take a second look at this issue with an open mind and greater consideration of the realities that are happening on the ground. We commend the President for his eagerness to make government attuned to the needs of its citizens by exploring ways of making the budget process more responsive. His decision to appeal the Supreme Court ruling proves his readiness to stand for what he believes will benefit his people. That is the mark of a true leader. For that, we give him our support," the Negrense officials added.

Those who signed the manifesto aside from Marañon are Lacson are Second District Rep. Leo Rafael Cueva, Board Members Rolando Ponsica (First District), Salvador Escalante and Miller Serondo (Second District), Johnna Ko (Third District); Victor Javellana and Jose Benito Alonso (Fourth District) Alain Gatuslao and Renato Malabor (Fifth District), Helen Zafra and Pedro Zayco (Sixth District), Mark Cui (ABC); Mayors Ramon Torres (Bago City), Patrick Escalante (Cadiz City), Isidro Zayco (Kabankalan City), Juliet Marie Ferrer (La Carlota City), Alfredo Marañon III (Sagay City), Melecio Yap (Escalante City), Maria Gina Lizares (Acting Mayor, Sipalay City); Emmanuel Aranda (Binalbagan), Cicero Borromeo (Candoni), John Rey Tabujara (Cauayan), Hermilo Aguilar (Hinigaran), Ernesto Estrao (Hinobaan), Francis Malabor (Acting Mayor, Isabela), Lourdes Escalante (Manapla), Alberto Nicor (La Castellana), Andrew Montelibano (Murcia), Jose Maria Alonso (Pontevedra), Richard Jaojoco (Toboso), Romel Yogore Valladolid) and David Albert Lacson (E.B. Magalona).

Frank Carbon, president of Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Roberto Magalona, president of Hotel and Restaurant Association of Negros also signed the manifesto as well Provincial Director Ma. Joy Marideth Madayag of the Department of Interior and Local Government.

FROM INTERAKSYON

ARMM leaders reaffirm support for Aquino By: Dennis Arcon, InterAksyon.com July 18, 2014 11:25 AM InterAksyon.com The online news portal of TV5


Photo from Facebook page of Sulu Gov Totoh Tan

COTABATO CITY, Philippines -- The five provincial governors of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao reaffirmed their support for President Benigno Aquino III in the wake of the setback presented by the Supreme Court decision on the discredited Disbursement Acceleration Program.

Governors Esmael Mangudadatu of Maguindanao, Abdusakur “Totoh” Tan Jr. of Sulu, Mamintal Adiong of Lanao del Sur, Jum Akbar of Basilan and Norbert Sahali of Tawi-Tawi issued a resolution of support for Aquino during a meeting Tuesday in Quezon City on Tuesday.

ARMM officials maintain that DAP, key provisions of which were declared unconstitutional by the high court in a unanimous vote, benefited the region through the P8.5-billion Transition Investment Support Program, or “Stimulus Fund,” which funded the construction of farm-to-market roads, health centers and schools.

The DAP ruling prompted ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman to order the suspension of all projects funded by the TISP even as he worried about obligations to contractors for completed work.

Among the pending projects are around 30 health centers, ARMM Health Secretary Kadil Sinolinding said.

FROM PHILSTAR

Palace: Not yet out of woods on DAP (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 27, 2014 - 12:00am 1 90 googleplus0 0


VALTE

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang yesterday conceded that the crisis caused by the Disbursement Acceleration Fund (DAP) was not yet over.

“No one is thinking that we are out of the woods or that we are off the hook,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said, adding the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) is preparing the list of programs and projects funded under regular savings, which Sen. Nancy Binay asked for during the Senate hearing last Thursday.

The Palace announced that a special page on DAP has been put up on the government’s Official Gazette, as promised by Budget Secretary Florencio Abad during the Senate finance committee.

“The page http://www.gov.ph/featured/dap was created. It contains a briefer on the legal and constitutional basis for DAP, a link to the list of DAP projects, the Supreme Court decision, as well as the corresponding motion for reconsideration,” Valte said.

Valte said the page reflects the administration’s thrust for transparency and confidence in the primacy of information in clarifying national issues.

The government has appealed the decision of the SC declaring parts of the DAP unconstitutional.

In Batangas City on Wednesday, President Aquino identified more projects funded by DAP and how they benefited the people.

In his message during the commemoration of the 150th birth anniversary of Apolinario Mabini, the President said the government had allotted P1.6 billion in DAP funds for the programs of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to train 223,615 scholars, spending more than P7,000 per person.

Some 66 percent or 146,731 of the graduates are now employed, he said.

* Aquino said TESDA was still helping the 34 percent find jobs and that all their names, addresses and contact numbers were listed and open for anyone’s scrutiny.

The public also benefited from the DREAM-LiDAR project under Project NOAH of the Department of Science and Technology, which received funding from the DAP, the Chief Executive said, adding that through the project, experts are now able to disseminate reliable information on weather disturbances.

In the tourism sector, of the 202 roads that were constructed to connect priority destinations in the country to major hubs, 66 were built in 2012, using P5 billion in DAP funds, he said.

The President said in July 2012, the SC posted savings of P1.8 billion, which was meant to augment the fund for the construction of the Manila Hall of Justice, a project that was under the executive branch or the Department of Justice.

The SC, however, withdrew the request in December 2013, when the implementation of the DAP became an issue.

Aquino cited this as an example of cross-border transfer or the allocation of funds from one branch of government to another.

The President reiterated that the implementation of the DAP had lawful basis, and as such, the executive branch has asked the SC to reassess its decision to declare parts of the program unconstitutional.

The SC ruled that the DAP was illegal because the President violated the Constitution by using or transferring funds without proper mandate from Congress.

DSWD defends P4.4 B from DAP

The P4.4 billion that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) received through DAP was used for the implementation of social services in various areas in the country, Secretary Corazon Soliman said on Friday.

“We uploaded (the list of beneficiaries) on our website. We assure everyone that there is no duplication (of projects),” Soliman said in Filipino during a press briefing in Quezon City.

Based on the detailed list of DAP-funded projects released by the DBM, the DSWD received P1.97 billion – under DAP 1 – to fund social services to residents in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

The agency also received P1.31 billion through the Expanded Government Internship Program, under DAP 3, which provided technical and vocational trainings to 15- to 18-year-old beneficiaries in partnership with TESDA.

Another P500 million, this time implemented with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), was used for the students’ grants-in-aid for poverty alleviation program.

During her presentation, Soliman said the P1.97 billion allotted for ARMM translated to 987 day care centers and 924 shelters. She added that 200,000 children completed 120 feeding days and assistance was given to 1,476 families who are victims of flood in Maguindanao.

She added that 31,400 beneficiaries received assistance through the sustainable livelihood program, while another 20,454 individuals benefited from the cash-for-work program.

Higher budget for DSWD

During the briefing, Soliman said the department would request for a higher budget for next year as they plan to increase the number of family-beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).

She said the program would be implemented in Yolanda-affected areas, and would increase its coverage for students up to 18 years old. – Aurea Calica, Janvic Mateo, Danny Dangcalan


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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