• Aquino to get P1T ‘pork’

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    President Benigno Aquino 3rd may have cut the practice of giving Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to lawmakers, but the President will continue to get his own “pork barrel” in lump sum.

    In fact, under the proposed General Appropriations Act (GAA) for 2014, the President’s “pork” allocation is a whopping P1 trillion.

    Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad said that the President’s discretionary fund or “pork barrel” will be in lump sum because the beneficiaries of the funding are hard to pinpoint.

    Abad made the explanation a day after Aquino decided to scrap the P25 billion “pork” allotted for senators and members of the House of Representatives for next year.

    The President said that under the new “corruption-proof” system, lawmakers projects will be included in the line item budgeting and will be included in the GAA.

    The Budget chief said the President’s discretionary fund of P1 trillion will have to be in lump sum. The money includes allocations for budgetary support to government corporations, allocations to local government units, calamity fund, contingency fund, Department of Educational School Building Program/Educational Facilities Fund, E-Government Fund, International Commitments Fund, Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund, Pension and Gratuity Fund, Feasibility Studies Fund, Customs duties and taxes, including tax expenditures fund and Debt Service Fund.

    “Let us look at the calamity fund. How can we identify the number of typhoons that will come to the country next year? We can’t be so sure of the amount that we will need for that. When typhoon Pablo hit Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley last year, the government spent P11 billion for relief and rehabilitation. Our calamity fund for 2013 is only pegged at P7.5 billion. This is exactly why we need a contingency fund,” Abad told state-run Radyo ng Bayan.

    “Can you imagine us asking money from Congress only after the typhoon has brought damages? That cannot be right,” he added.

    The contingency fund, Abad said, is also tapped for the emergency repatriation of overseas Filipinos in conflict areas, or combat operations of the Philippine National Police.

    “These are the situations that we can’t predict. It’s the same thing for our retirees. We know how many of them are possibly retiring, but we can’t guess the actual number of retirees. So, how can you put that in detail?” he added.

    However, Kabataan partylist Rep. Terry Ridon said the President’s discretionary fund can also be subject to corruption.

    In a briefing paper entitled “Prime Cuts: Dissecting the Presidential Pork Barrel,” Ridon said since Aquino has sole discretion over his massive “pork barrel”, it is possible for him to fund programs and projects that favor his allies.

    He added that the fund for debt payment was included in the President’s “pork” because it is not subject to congressional scrutiny.”

    Not for good
    Abad also said that the lawmakers’ “pork barrel” cannot be scrapped for good.

    “We can’t just drop that P25 billion [of PDAF]because this fund has legitimate beneficiaries. It would be okay to scrap the PDAF for those lawmakers who spend their PDAF on fake beneficiaries, but how about those who legitimately benefit from the PDAF like the scholars, health units and barangay health stations? he pointed out.

    Each senator gets a PDAF of P200 million every year, while each members of the House is given P70 million.

    Rep. Teddy Baguilat Jr. of Ifugao, a member of the ruling Liberal Party (LP), agreed with Abad.

    “Our PDAF is currently supporting 1,500 students. So without PDAF, we will have to tell them to look for other sources. I can fund only a few from my salary,” Baguilat, chairman of the House Agrarian Reform Commitee, said.

    He said the new policy announced by the President on Friday is worth a try.

    “I am okay with this. While it will make life more difficult for us politicians, this will bring in more transparency as well as inform pork detractors of the type of projects we fund,” he told reporters.

    Full accounting
    Meanwhile, Vice President Jejomar Binay wants the present and previous administrations to disclose a full accounting of the PDAF disbursements.

    “I would also want a full accounting of PDAF disbursements during the previous administration and under the present administration if only to assure our people that the sins we assigned to the previous regime are no longer with us,” Binay said in a statement on Saturday.

    According to him, expenditures by the Executive branch and its departments should be based on a study of the real needs of people in a locality.

    “Let us all unite to ensure that the decision of the President is implemented with greater transparency, accountability and impartiality,” Binay said.

    He said politically-motivated disbursements could undo the reform efforts of the administration.

    “Ang ikabubuti ng mamamayan ang dapat maging tanging basehan, at hindi pulitika.

    Otherwise, we will be reverting to the discredited practice of the past administration where the executive had total control in deciding who gets funding from the national government,” the Vice President added.

    The military also on Saturday said that it will monitor the planned anti-pork barrel gathering of at least a million people at Rizal Park on Monday.

    The rally is expected to push through despite the President’s decision to abolish the PDAF.

    “The Armed Forces is always on a ‘watchmode’ whenever there is such kind of activity, but the military will always side with the people,” a military officer who asked not to be named said.

    The National Capital Regional Police Office (Ncrpo) will be on heightened alert starting this afternoon as part of their preparation for the expected anti-pork barrel rally.

    PNP Public Information chief Senior Supt. Reuben Theodore Sindac, said their standard preparation for this type of situation includes civil disturbance management, pedestrian and vehicular traffic control and area security.

    With a report from Neil Alcober and Anthony Vargas

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    13 Comments

    1. Nieves Godinez on

      What kind of public servants do we have under this government of retards? They are unable to predict the needs for funds! That is because there is no clear policy-making taking place in both houses? How are other countries able to meet most of the needs of their public without having to apportion half of their national budgets under the sole discretion of the head of state, the prime minister?

      What is wrong with the current form of government that we have that we are not able to determine exactly the right budget for public needs? How come countries like Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, just to mention those that have been able to overtake us developmentally have been able to take care of their people without massive pork barrel funds for their politicians? Are Filipinos so stupid as to believe Abad who raised the pork barrel funds of his wife to 92 million for a district she is representing with 16,000 population?

      Abad, resign in disgrace. You are a crook. It is obvious in how you think national budget should be handled! You have no business being in government when you do not even realize that a democracy necessitates thorough deliberations of government policy in the legislature before public funds are spent. Why are you all abusing power by giving funds to projects not previously decided upon by the legislature? This clearly shows the bankruptcy of the current system of government. It is time to shift to a parliamentary form of government, where public servants have accountability to the public and would not dare allocate 50% of the national budget to politicians’ pet projects!

      Shame on you Abad!!!!!!

    2. Petronio Villareal on

      I agree that calamities are unpredictable. But the School Building Programs? The E-Government FUnd? What a shallow alibi of MR. A-bad..

    3. Roldan Guerreo on

      Pork Barrel must be stopped once and for all. In the last elections Aquino used government resources to finance campaign funds and this was the reason why most of admin candidates won. With so much money in his Budget outlay having just noticeable accomplishments where are these huge sums spent? The CoA must also conduct an audit for Aquino and allies expenditures to find out the truth and misuse must be unveiled. His allies are all Balimbings from the previous regime and their illegal activities have continued. Let the Filipino people know what the real score is. We must know the people who are pretending to be clean who are the real culprits.

    4. I pity you Mr. Abad, for trying to cover up the indiscretion behind the president’s pork. What you call Discretionary funds, is merely a way for providing money to this Administration, so that he can use it in the manner he wants to as freely as he wants too. Unfortunately the money never goes to the intended beneficiaries of floods, landslides and other emergencies that beset this nation. Most of it, end up in hidden agendas, that only you and the president can explain to the people. Yes, you and the president should report to the people, because this is their money. You are using their hard-earned money to finance this Administration’s unexplained endeavours. The people, your Bosses, want to know what you and whoever disburses the money, used it for. We want details Mr. Abad.

    5. Likitnallamadista on

      Why would Abad guess the number of retirees? Require each department to submit the number of government workers that will retire the following year. Don’t GUESS!

    6. G.B.EVANGELISTA on

      Complete abolition of PORK BARREL in any form, if done will be the most important legacy of Pres. Aquino. He does not have to worry about control of congress. This is his chance to truly make a difference. The abolition of this graft-ridden system will be the most tangible proof of his commitment to his TUWID NA DAAN by initiating the abolition himself and setting the example.

    7. NO also to the PRESIDENTIAL PORK….in the interest of fairplay, wala dapat PORK lahat!

      Don’t worry, there will always be a mechanism for helping people…palusot lang yan…

      We are not buying this bullsh–!

    8. Samuel Santos on

      I could not believe my eyes when I saw the headline of this news report. I believe the news story, nonetheless.

    9. So Mr. Abad, if “the beneficiaries of the funding are hard to pinpoint.” (your very own words) how were you able to come up with the total amount? Hokus-Pokus?

    10. Aquino has been blaming GMA but how about his trillion of pesos PDAF every year. Binay is right, not just the previous admin. Aquino is not exempted from investigation. Sobrang laki nang Pork niya

    11. The Lolongs of the administration are like leaches trying to hang on to pocket people’s tax money. Now they are looking for other method’s which will tantamount to the same effect – to enrich themselves with peoples money. Just look at Lolong Abad. He is not satisfied that he and his entire family, just like Lolong Binay are in government and to add, they are one of the most powerful of them all in this poor country. B.S. Aquino and his cohorts has no conscience. They still cling to what is not theirs. Folks, do you agree that these crocodiles still deserve even a little respect from the citizens? Let us get fooled and swayed with what Aquino is doing. Let us push thru with the rally and if they will insist of their selfish acts, let us continue staging rally’s until these crocodiles will listen to the people.