MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Audit has ordered 4 state corporations to return to government coffers a total of P2.405 billion ($55.8 million*) in unused funds released to them under the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
In its 2013 Annual Financial Report on government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs), COA also ordered the National Electrification Administration (NEA), Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), National Dairy Authority (NDA), and the Philippine Fisheries Development Authority (PFDA) to account for P3.787 ($84.5 million) billion released to them under the DAP.
The COA said in its report dated September 29 but made public on October 20, that the order is in compliance with the Supreme Court ruling that certain executive acts under the government’s special spending scheme are unconstitutional.
The COA findings showed that of the funds released to the NEA under the DAP, P1.58 billion ($35.3 million) was unused and should be returned.
COA said that the Philippine Institute for Development Studies PIDS has P560 million ($12.5 million) in unused DAP funds; the NDA, P167.44 million ($3.74 million); and the PFDA, P98 million ($2.189 million), for a total of P2.405 billion.
COA directed the GOCCs to “return the unutilized DAP funds to the Bureau of the Treasury pursuant to the pronouncement of the Supreme Court that the DAP is unconstitutional.”
The Aquino administration introduced the DAP in late 2011 to spur economic growth through increased public spending, but was questioned before the Supreme Court in 2013.
In July, the High Court ruled as unconstitutional 3 executive acts under the DAP – declaring as savings unobligated portions of the budget before the end of the fiscal year, the transfer of savings from one government branch to another, and the allocation of funds to activities, projects or programs not covered by regular appropriations.
‘DAP objectives not met’
The COA report also showed that the 4 GOCCs have not accounted for a total of P3.787 billion funds released to them under the DAP, topped by the NEA with P2.578 billion ($57.54 million) in unaccounted funds, followed by PIDS, P856.809 million ($19.13 million); NDA, P254.442 million ($5.68 million), and the PFDA, P98 million ($2.18 million).
The state auditing firm also said that the DAP objective, as espoused by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM,) was not met in the case of the releases to the concerned GOCCs.
The DBM maintains that the DAP had facilitated “high-impact priority programs and projects” to help the government “introduce greater speed, efficiency and effectiveness in budget execution.” (READ: Economic managers cite DAP ‘impact’ in 2013 memo to Aquino)
COA said, however, that the “DAP objective of accelerating government spending was not attained due to delays/slow/or non-release of funds to project proponents” in the case of the 4 GOCCs.
It also noted that a total of P1.382 billion ($30.8 million) released by the GOCCs remain unliquidated as of December 31, 2013.
Of this amount, NEA disbursed P998.189 million; PIDS, P296.809 million; and the NDA, P87.002 million.
The COA had submitted copies of its report to the Office of the President, the Office of the Senate President and the Office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives. (30)
*$1 = P44.76
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