Aquino defends DAP, rebukes detractors

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President Benigno Aquino III addressed the Filipino people on national TV  last Oct. 30, in a bid to enlighten the public on major controversial issues related to the President’s Social Fund and the Disbursement Allocation Program (DAP).

 

The speech, which aired in major TV channels and lasted for about 15 minutes, focused on the benefits of DAP as a mechanism to fund projects that were within the proposed budget and that had a clear benefit to the country, and the President’s Social Fund which the Executive uses to finance imperative social and humanitarian programs such as those related to calamities.

The President, which lately has been branded by his critics as the “pork barrel king”, turned the heat back to those who are accused of stealing from the people by repeatedly working with bogus non-government organizations (NGOs).

Speaking in the vernacular, Aquino said not once did he hear those who are accused of plunder say that they never stole anything from the government. The President said those who are linked to the multi-billion pork barrel scam have resorted to muddling the issue instead.

“Kung di mo kayang ipaliwanag, palabuin mo. Kung di mo kayang bumango, pabahuin mo. Kung di mo kayang magpapogi, papangitin mo [If you can’t explain it, muddle it; if you can’t deodorize it, make everyone else stink; if you can’t look good, make everyone look bad.],” Aquino said.

Also, to those accused of wrongdoing who said he is just like them, Aquino said: “Hindi tayo pareho. Hindi ako nagnakaw at hindi ako magnanakaw. [We are not the same. I have never stolen. I am not a thief].”

The President summed up the DAP as a result of good governance. By eliminating certain malpractices such as connivance of some in bidding for contracts, in padding costs, overpricing, and kickbacks, the government is able to save and earn money, he said. He also credited government-owned and controlled corporations like the Manila Waterworks Sewerage System (MWSS) who now contribute dividends to the government which form part of the DAP funds.

He then addressed the issue of its abolition by simply asking if it’s wrong when it is the DAP that helped fund vital programs such as the Project NOAH and has contributed 1.3 percent to the country’s GDP in recent years.

The President’s Social Fund, Aquino said, was used, for example, in providing “assistance to the families of soldiers and policemen who fell in the line of duty while responding to the threat posed by the MNLF-Misuari Faction in Zamboanga. There were also those who fell in the course of rescue and relief operations in the wake of Typhoon Sendong. The PSF funded these; without it, without calamity or contingency funds, they would have continued to suffer.”

Finally, Aquino once again called the Filipino people his “bosses” and urged them not to give up and continue the fight against corruption in government.

 

Nothing in the speech, however, addressed the issue of the P50 million to P100 million “extra pork barrel” or incentives that were released to select senators after the impeachment of then Chief Justice Renato Corona.  Manila Bulletin