MANILA, Philippines - The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Thursday maintained that the military projects funded by the controversial disbursement acceleration program (DAP) were legitimate.
AFP public affairs chief Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala said the projects were meant to improve their units’ equipment and promote the welfare of troops.
“These projects are aboveboard and were judiciously spent. That is capital outlay for these units to implement,” Zagala said.
He said their DAP-funded projects are capital outlays and therefore tangible.
“If these (projects) appreciated by our government officials especially the president, then we are appreciative of that,” Zagala said.
Earlier, the Defense Department admitted that it received DAP funds worth P665.6 million in 2011 and 2012.
The DAP fund was released to AFP to buy equipment and spare parts, support on-base housing, and repair or renovate different facilities.
Majority of the amount released to the Defense department was allotted to the Air Force and the Presidential Security Group (PSG).
The Air Force received P397.3 million for its on-base housing facilities, communication equipment, rescue requirements, base facilities and renovation of its training facilities in Lipa, Batangas.
The PSG, meanwhile, was given P248.3 million for its communication enhancement project. The project involves the laying-out of the backbone for the unit’s communications systems, the repair and building of barracks, the installation of closed circuit television equipment at the Malacañang Complex, and the upgrade of communications equipment from analogue to digital.
The DAP was hounded with controversy after Sen. Jinggoy Estrada claimed that those who voted to impeach Chief Justice Renato Corona were given P50-million in additional funding.
Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, however, said that the funds were meant to promote economic activity and not to bribe senators.
He said the DAP was meant to “ramp up government expenditures in the wake of sluggish spending.”
DAP, Abad said, was distributed to state agencies and projects endorsed by lawmakers.
Palace officials said the DAP releases came from the overall savings of the national government, which includes unprogrammed funds generated from windfall revenue collections, unreleased appropriations from slow-moving projects, terminated programs based on program evaluation of zero-based budgeting and the withdrawal of unused allotments already released to agencies.