Solon: Gov’t keeping plantilla posts vacant to divert funds to pet projects
A LAWMAKER is claiming that the Aquino administration is deliberately not filling up over 10 percent of its plantilla positions to impound the funds for them and divert the funds to other projects, just like what it did with the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
Rep. Arnel Ty of the LPG-MA party-list claimed that the high number of unfilled permanent positions was “shameful and alarming,” in view of the high unemployment and underemployment rate in the country.
The Deputy Minority Leader was referring to the Department of Budget and Management report, which revealed that the number of unoccupied positions in various agencies has ballooned by 22 percent, to 188,388 this year from 154,019 in 2013. The 188,388 vacancies accounted for 13.1 percent of total government plantilla positions.
Ty claimed that most of these vacant positions were for teachers but he could not provide a specific number.
Budget Secretary Florencio Abad dismissed Ty’s warning as “unfounded” as the lawmaker could not even determine what these vacancies were.
“Don’t accept those numbers as given. They’re grossly exaggerated. The biggest allocations of personnel go to the Department of Education because of K-12; the Department of Health for doctors, midwives and nurses; and the Philippine National Police to improve policeman-to-population ratio. Those personnel are almost always hired because of the great and urgent need for them,” said Abad.
But Ty warned that the funds earmarked for these unoccupied positions could end up getting “DAPped.”
Ty was referring to the DAP, which had been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court last year, where “funds that state offices failed to spend fast enough were impounded by Malacañang right away, and then splurged on pet projects.”
Abad said lawmakers like Ty should verify their data first before coming up with dire scenarios or negative motives without any basis. “This is just plain hearsay even if it comes from a member of the House,” said Abad. SFM
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