A LITTLE MORE than two years ago, Palace officials gave birth to what they would later claim to be a new economic stimulus plan to boost economic growth. As is often the case in government, this plan was given a technical- and complex-sounding name for it to have a semblance of bureaucratic gravitas that would lend it the appearance of political neutrality.

Two years and two months later, the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program or DAP is not just dead in the water; it continues to call attention to itself much like the proverbial albatross around Malacanang’s neck, except that this is one bird that won’t stop flapping just yet.

When the Supreme Court on July 1 declared parts of the DAP program unconstitutional, calls went out for the President’s resignation or impeachment. This, even as Malacanang lashed back at the Supreme Court by claiming that no public funds were lost, pocketed or wasted through DAP. On other words. Malacanang is using the “good faith” defense, an argument that effectively precludes all forms of punishment so long as one is able to declare the absence of malice.

But if there is one thing that many Cabinet members are learning over the past few weeks, one lesson stands out: “Good intentions are not enough.”

In the first of a three-part series by PCIJ Executive Director Malou Mangahas, the PCIJ looks into the beginnings of the DAP program, what was right or wrong about it, how Executive officials see it, and what projects and activities had been implemented, for good or bad results, in its name.

Read Part 1 of the series, The P 144-b DAP Express: A maze of good, bad, open, opaque projects.

A sidebar that traces the history of DAP and in the context of current political and economic events is also included.

The second part of the report deals with how, for all the avowed good intentions to have DAP funds stimulate the economy, the dates, places, quality, and implementation of DAP projects do not seem to match these intentions.

The second part was written by PCIJ Executive Director Malou Mangahas, with Karol Ilagan and Rowena Caronan.

And read part three here.


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