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Belmonte vows to pass Abad bill on gov’t savings

Budget Secretary Florencio Abad submits the P2.606-trillion proposed national budget for 2015 to Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. BOY SANTOS

The controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) may be ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court but its effects could not be felt.

This was after House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. vowed to pass a bill submitted by Budget Secretary Butch Abad to Congress called “An Act Clarifying the Definition of Savings and Related Concepts and the Use and Release of the Unprogrammed Fund in the Appropriations Laws and Validating the Implementation Thereof by the Executive Branch,” after the House passes the P2.606-trillion national budget for 2015.

We will pass the savings bill after we pass the budget,” Belmonte said.

But Belmonte said the bill still needs “refinements.”

However, Navotas Rep. and United Nationalist Alliance spokesman Toby Tiangco, one of the critics of the DAP, also vowed to oppose the measure from passage.

“If we still respect the institution of the House of Representatives, the only thing we have to do is shred it at once,” he said.

Under the bill Abad submitted,  unspent funds for programmed projects are considered as savings and could be pooled as early as the middle of the year. It also “intends to clarify the legislative intent on what constitutes savings and the rules on augmentation, and when the unprogrammed fund may be utilized pursuant to the authority of Congress to legislate the foregoing concepts.”

President Aquino and Abad defended the DAP, which the administration called a ‘stimulus’ to boost the economy, saying the fund was used to help the poor.

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