Official explains DAP to students

CABINET Secretary Jose Rene Almendras yesterday defended the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) before students of the University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJR), saying even the Supreme Court has acknowledged it as good for the country.

Almendras flew from Manila to Cebu to be the resource person of the A-Forum organized by Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) President Jun Tagalog and Leo Lastimosa of ABS-CBN and attended by USJ-R political science and mass communications students.

Almendras said the Palace will distribute copies of the SC decision and a media interview with retired Justice Artemio Panganiban to enlighten the public.

u201cEverything in the Supreme Court decision is good and favorable to DAP except for two paragraphs that discussed cross-border transfer and savings before the year ended,” Almendras said.

He said the administration of President Benigno Aquino III halted all the projects that are funded by DAP after the SC decision. However, Congress has been asked to pass a supplemental budget for 2014 to continue the funding.

Annual budget

Almendras said Malacañang will submit to Congress today the annual budget of the National Government for 2015.

The Constitution provides that only Congress can pass the budget through the General Appropriations Act (GAA).

He said the budget for next year and for 2016 will be based on inputs and outputs.

u201cBefore, we based government performance on spending. Now, it should be based on outputs that produce good results. For example, if we set a budget for P1 million for a project, that is an input. The output is different because this is the outcome or impact of what the government is spending. Did it uplift the living conditions of poor families?” Almendras said.

Almendras also talked about the transformation of government officials and employees that improved services in various government agencies.

He said the government instituted a performance-based strategy. Those who work hard or have delivered good service must be rewarded, but those who became irrelevant, like the so-called “15-30,” who only report every 15th and 30th of the month to collect their salaries, must be weeded out.

Performance-based compensation, Almendras said, needs measures, targets and standards to determine the strong and weak points of government officials and employees.

On the economy, Almendras said that in 2010, the economy of the country was 70 percent consumption and 30 percent investment.

u201cWe have to reverse the situation,” Almendras said.

Clustered agencies

Almendras said the Aquino administration has put into one cluster the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to improve the facilities of the farmers, including farm-to-market roads.

He cited as example the coconut farmers who only earned 40 percent of the income from coconut products and by-products and the 60 percent goes to the middlemen.

He said if the government can build more roads and help the farmers market their products, their income will increase.

He also divulged that based on a survey, Cebu, which posted the fastest economic growth in the country, ranked third in poverty incidence.

He explained that the reason for this is that several people have no skills to qualify for jobs. So, government intervention is to provide them skills through the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda).

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