14 senators give up PDAF

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AT least 14 senators have officially waived their P200 million allocation under the priority development assistance fund (PDAF) and have it deducted from the P2.268 trillion 2014 proposed budget despite of the appeal of some of their colleagues to realign the money to the calamity fund.

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The senators who are pushing for the total abolition of their 2014 pork barrel made known their desire through a letter to the Senate Finance committee. They are senators Franklin Drilon, Francis Escudero, Sergio Osmena 3rd, Aquilino Pimentel 3rd, Cynthia Villar, Paolo Benigno Aquino 4th, Teofisto Guingona 3rd, Loren Legarda, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Grace Poe and Juan Paolo Angara, Vicente Sotto 3rd, Nancy Binay and Gregorio Honasan.

Osmena said that he is also giving up his 2013 pork allocation which has remained untouched while Sotto said that he is giving up his PDAF allocations from 2013 to 2016.

But some senators have different plan for their PDAF, like Senate majority leader Alan Peter Cayetano who proposed that the entire P4.8 billion Senate PDAF be earmarked to augment the P7.5 billion calamity fund.

He noted the while senators have the moral duty to abolish a system that has been promoting corruption, legilators should also have the moral courage to use the resources to vital programs that would help uplift people’s lives especially in areas that have been devastated by natural and manmade disasters.

Senator Antonio Trillanes 4th on the other hand wants the P200 million PDAF allocation be realigned to fund scholarship programs in different colleges and state universities, medical assistance in government hospitals, and construction of barracks of soldiers and policemen.

Minority Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito, also wants his pork reallocated for relief and rehabilitation funds of the victims of Typhoon Santi in Central Luzon, Super Typhoon Yolanda in Visayas and quake-hit residents in Bohol and Cebu.

“We should muster all our effort and funds to help calamity victims recover from the ‘hell’ they are now living. This is the best time to put the pork barrel fund into good and practical use,” Ejercito said.

The senate finance committee will be collating all the positions of the senators and present it before the plenary once the session resumes next week.

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