Santiago seeks probe on unaccounted DAP funds for PIDS

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Thursday, September 4, 2014


SENATOR Miriam Defensor Santiago has filed a resolution calling for an investigation on the reports that P660 million from the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) given to the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) remain either unspent or unaccounted for.

"The Supreme Court, in separate decisions, has ruled that both the pork barrel and the DAP are unconstitutional. Yet, these funds still rear their ugly heads and wreak havoc," Santiago said.

According to the COA report, the utilization of the P560 million from the DAP granted to the PIDS and the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) to fund various research, development, and extension projects did not accelerate spending as envisioned in the DAP.

The COA also said that the PIDS has made a bad land investment using P100 million in DAP funds meant for their own office building. The property turned out to be the site of the sewage treatment facility of Philippine Children Medical Center (PCMC), and has been a contentious issue ever since.

Santiago said that the she agrees with the COA's observation that the DAP funds failed to stimulate the economy simply because the funds merely remained in the possession of government agencies.

"In addition to it being illegal, the DAP as a program appears to be inutile in the hands of government agencies. In the case of PIDS, only the disbursements were accelerated and nothing else," Santiago said.

Based on the Commission on Audit reports, the PIDS had failed to account for P297 million in channelled funds to government schools, universities, and colleges. It was also reported that P213 million of DAP funds granted to the PIDS from 2011 to 2012 remained dormant in Landbank deposit accounts.

"The government's economic think tank should shape up. We already have a dearth of thinking people in the government, and these people should be smart about using public funds," Santiago said. (Camille P. Balagtas/Sunnex)

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