Priority Development Assistance Fund, Special Purpose Fund, President’s Social Fund, and now DAP, stop mocking us, they’re all pork and they reek of the same stench of corruption.” – Ferdinand Gaite, Courage
By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
MANILA – Government employees criticized President Aquino for defending the Disbursement Acceleration Program. These funds, they said, should have been used to fund the much-needed benefits of government employees instead.
“Budget Secretary Florencio Abad even has the gall to say that part of the DAP used to be just bonuses for government employees and now is allotted for more important programs. What important programs? Bribe and reward for legislators to follow Malacañang’s whims? Taking the money intended to augment state workers’ meager salaries only to squander the same in order to buy the loyalty of lawmakers to the administration is not only illegal, it is criminal,” Ferdinand Gaite, national president of Courage, said.
Aquino’s creation of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) has surfaced after Sen. Jingoy Estrada and later Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago and former Senator Joker Arroyo revealed the illegality of the said funds, which was reportedly used as incentive for legislators who supported the impeachment of former Chief Justice Renato Corona.
Aquino, who has been branded by progressive groups as “Pork Barrel King,” dared his critics to impeach him.
“Priority Development Assistance Fund, Special Purpose Fund, President’s Social Fund, and now DAP, stop mocking us, they’re all pork and they reek of the same stench of corruption,” Gaite said.
For benefits of workers
Abad, in a news report, said a portion of the savings of government agencies was “used for mere bonuses but we allotted them to more important programs which needed funding. That is one of the reasons for the establishment of DAP.”
“The president is given the power to identify projects the funds for which will be sourced from savings that could otherwise end up as bonuses. That is provided in the Constitution and the General Appropriations Act,” Abad added.
Constitution expert and priest Joaquin Bernas said no law has been passed to authorize the creation of the DAP and that it is a violation of the constitution and an impeachable offense. He added that savings must be used by the same agency where it came from.
Government employees agree with Bernas.
Gaite said employees also work hard so government agencies would have savings without sacrificing public service. This includes cutting costs on operations, efficient use of office supplies, among others.
Benefits, however, of government employees, as stipulated in their Collective Negotiation Agreement (CNA) and the Magna Carta for Scientists and Technologists, health personnel and social workers are hardly provided to them, Courage said. Under the Aquino administration, their benefits, the union added, were capped, disallowed and withheld. Some were even ordered to refund the disallowances.
Gaite said, “This administration treated us as if the crumbs we get to feed our families were stolen from much needed public funds. Only to find out that they were the ones stealing from us big time.”