MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) clarified on Tuesday, July 22, that Hacienda Luisita landowners did not receive any compensation through funds released under the Disbursement Allocation Program (DAP).
Budget Secretary Florencio Abad made the clarification following what he called a “factual error” made by the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) chair Rafael Mariano in their impeachment complaint against President Benigno Aquino III.
In the first valid impeachment complaint filed by various groups against President Benigno Aquino III on Monday, July 21, among the allegations is that DAP had benefitted the President’s family through alleged releases for landowners’ compensation under the program.
Hacienda Luisita is owned by the President’s maternal relatives, the Cojuangco family.
Abad said the P7.93 billion ($182.7 million*) released to compensate Hacienda Luisita landowners were sourced from the General Appropriations Act (GAA) in 2010 and 2011, and not through the DAP, as alleged by Mariano.
“The KMP is making a factual error in their impeachment complaint. The funds that they’re referring to were already part of the Department of Agrarian Reform’s (DAR) 2010 and 2011 budgets for the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). These allotments were not released through the DAP, nor were they augmentations to the DAP’s budget for CARP,” he said.
Abad cited DBM records that showed P3.97 billion ($91.47 million) was allocated for the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) under the DAR in the 2010 GAA, for which a Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) was released on June 4, 2010.
In October 4, 2011, another P3.97 billion ($91.47 million) was released to DAR for that year’s CARP implementation.
“If you check the list we uploaded on the website, you’ll see that item No. 24, or ‘DAR: Landowners’ Compensation’ does not specify an amount for proposed funding. The fields for ‘Allotment Releases’ and ‘Balance’ for landowners’ compensation are also blank. That’s because all we did was release the Notice for Cash Allocation (NCA) for the CARP so the funds could be released to the proper beneficiaries,” Abad said.
He added, “We wanted to expedite the release of these funds so we could quickly turn over the land due our farmers. The DAP allowed us to do precisely that, so that Hacienda Luisita farmers could finally own the land they’ve worked on for so long.” – Rappler.com
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