Don’t use quake to tap DAP funds, Palace told-A A +A
Saturday, October 19, 2013
TWO party-list lawmakers on Saturday warned Malacanang against using the devastation brought by the magnitude-7.2 earthquake in the Visayas to justify the use of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) to aid the victims.
Representatives Neri Colmenares (Bayan Muna) and Antonio Tinio (ACT Teachers) said this following the announcement of Malacanang that calamity and contingency funds are about to be depleted and that government savings have to be tapped to augment these funds.
"President (Benigno) Aquino should deliver government aid in the most efficient and equitable manner. It's not right for Malacanang to say that it cannot deliver aid without DAP when they have billions in the 2013 budget," Colmenares said.
"The calamity in Central Visayas cannot be used to justify any unconstitutional and illegal act of the President, including the DAP. There should be more than enough funds appropriated by Congress to respond to the situation," Tinio added.
The DAP became controversial after Senator Jinggoy Estrada insinuated that the funds were used as "incentives" for senators who voted to convict impeached Chief Justice Renato Corona.
Several petitions questioning the legality of the DAP have been filed before the Supreme Court (SC). Oral arguments are set on October 22.
Eastern Samar Representative Ben Evardone, a close ally of President Aquino, said there is nothing wrong for the government to tap savings for the victims of the deadly quake.
"I think there is nothing wrong in extending assistance to earthquake victims by using presidential funds and other legal sources of funding. The government should in fact mobilize all its available resources to help the areas affected by the earthquake," Evardone said in a text message.
Davao City Representative Isidro Ungab, chairman of the House committee on appropriations, asked for ceasefire over the use of DAP funds.
"Can we first stop arguing and instead focus our efforts on how to help the earthquake victims in Bohol and Cebu. Our brothers and sisters need immediate help and attention," Ungab said. (Sunnex)