October 8, 2013
I did not authorize DAP funds for DOST; P10 million was part of my amendments to 2012 budget
Statement of Senator Pia S. Cayetano
October 8, 2013
I am issuing this statement from Geneva where I am currently attending the 129th assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).
I did not request nor did I authorize the release of funds under the DAP (Disbursement Acceleration Program) scheme to the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). This is contrary to the claim of Secretary Mario Montejo that I specifically allotted P10 million in DAP funds to the DOST.
I don’t even know that term. What I do know is that I proposed amendments in the amount of P10 million to the DOST budget under the 2012 General Appropriations Bill. The amendments were coursed through then Senate Finance Committee Chair Franklin Drilon in a letter dated November 22, 2011.
In fact, we submitted in writing the breakdown of the P10 million as follows: P2 million for training and scholarships; P1 million for the purchase of Starbooks* facilities under the Science and Technology Information Institute; and P7 million for financial assistance for Research and Development.
I proposed these amendments to support various DOST programs in line with my belief that we need to continuously innovate and invest in Science and Technology in order for our country to be more competitive and progressive.
It later came to my office’s attention at around February 2012, however, that the DOST had realigned said amount to the ‘Malnutrition Reduction Program’ of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI), an agency under DOST.
My office then tried to seek clarification from the DOST and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) in order to revert the funds to their original intention, as the realignment was undertaken without my knowledge or prior approval.
In response, a letter from the Department of Budget and Management dated March 12, 2012 confirmed that it was the DOST’s decision to realign the P10 million under DAP for Fiscal Year 2011, as covered by Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) No.E-11-01959 dated December 12, 2011.
Thus I could not have possibly authorized nor realigned funds through DAP, a funding entity whose mechanisms were unknown to me until it became the subject of controversy in recent news.
I hope this sheds light on the matter. #
*A DOST project, Starbooks is a specially designed information kiosk which contains thousands of digitized science and technology resources in various formats (text, video, audio). The resources are placed in designated ‘pods’ set in a user-friendly interface. It also features ‘livelihood videos’ meant to stimulate entrepreneurial capacity among students.
File photo: By Oko Francisco