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Green group tagged DAP as ‘Disaster Pork’

MANILA, PHILIPPINES –  Green group Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE) lambasted President Benigno ‘P-Noy’ Aquino III’s primetime address yesterday, October 30 as the president justified the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) and other ‘presidential pork’ funds for emergency responses during disasters.

The poster says it all. (Photo from Kalikasan PNE)
The poster says it all. (Photo from Kalikasan PNE)

According to the group, said fund was a reactive disaster response system that did not provide strategic solutions especially in the context of climate change, and also presented more opportunities for corruption.

Leon Dulce, campaign coordinator of Kalikasan PNE said in an interview, “P-Noy’s premise that the DAP is justified as a contingency fund for disasters is unacceptable as it promotes reactive response to extreme weather events and other climate change impacts. Not addressing the root community vulnerabilities means our communities are perpetually in a state of calamity. It seems disaster situations have been used for corruption under the Aquino government, from the idle funds donated for Typhoon Sendong victims to the overpriced survivor bunkhouses for Typhoon Pablo survivors.”

In year 2011, the Commission on Audit reported that donations for Typhoon Sendong that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) received amounting to P193.6 million remained idle in bank days after relief and response operations have already gone underway.

Also in February early this year, DSWD-Davao was reported to have overpriced bunk houses constructed for Typhoon Pablo survivors by as much as P300,000 each.

“We can even clearly see how the savings meant for the DAP negatively affected climate-proofing efforts in the country. A prime example is the the P468-million unreleased funds for barangay disaster preparedness projects by the Department of Interior and Local Government in 2010. This was likely realigned to bogus NGOs and projects through the DAP instead of allocated to basic social services, flood control projects and other disaster mitigating measures in the frontline level of local governance,” Dulce noted.

Based on disaster-related laws such as the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010 and the Climate Change Act of 2009, the responsibilities for disaster response and climate change adaptation is primarily placed on local government units.

However, Dulce said that the Aquino government usurps this mandate on LGUs by mainly releasing big funds supposedly for emergency responses to disasters through the Presidential Social Fund, another presidential pork barrel.

Kalikasan PNE proposed that well-planned itemized disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation projects from the local level up to national line agencies should replace the ‘presidential disaster pork.’

“P-Noy’s ‘disaster pork’ practice shows either a complete ignorance of what disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation is, or a determination to keep the corrupt patronage system in place. We reiterate our calls for the abolition of all forms of pork barrel funds, the immediate investigation and punishment of corrupt pork-spenders, and the rechanneling of the pork budget towards social services and climate-proofing,” ended Dulce.

Criselda Cabangon David, a happy mother of two kids, is a full-time Sociologist at the City Government of Lucena, Quezon Province. She is currently the Managing Editor of Ang Diaryo Natin Sunday News, a weekly local community newspaper in the Philippines and an active member of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.