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Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad

Senate Finance Committee Summons Abad to Explain DAP

 Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad
Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad

The Senate Committee on Finance has summoned Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad to explain before a public hearing scheduled for July 21 the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
The committee hearing is the continuation of the previous proceedings by the Senate that were suspended out of courtesy to the Supreme Court, which was then deliberating the various challenges questioning the legality of the DAP. The high court declared parts of the government’s spending mechanism unconstitutional.
Senator Chiz Escudero, chairman of the finance committee, has directed the secretary of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to submit to the Senate panel the complete list of the all the Special Allotment Release Orders or SARO that were disbursed under the DAP, including “projects/purpose and the amount of the releases.”
“You have been asking us which among our programs and projects were funded by the DAP… This is what we have been asking the DBM too since our last committee hearing: where is the list?” Escudero pointed out.
Escudero wanted Abad to clarify reports that total disbursed funds under the DAP amounted to P372 billion, which did not tally with the list provided by the budget department. “What DBM gave to the committee only amounted to over P200 billion.”
According to Escudero, he would also ask Abad to identify the fund releases under the DAP that were considered unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
“If we want to scrutinize the DAP releases under the guidance of the SC decision, we need all the papers that only DBM can provide. We are entering the budget season and on the part of the finance committee, we are carefully studying the court decision to ensure that the next budget we will be crafting and approving will be compliant with the Supreme Court decision on the DAP,” Escudero said.

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.