Businessmen starting to move vs. PDAF

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The head of the Philippine Chambers of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) said that its member-chambers nationwide fully support the clamor to abolish the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), and said that the group will join consultations on a law that will abolish the controversial funding system.

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The decision by the PCCI to support calls for the abolishment of the PDAF, also known as pork barrel, is part of the People’s Initiative that was proposed by former chief justice Reynato Puno as a measure for those who oppose pork barrel.

“The signal for the PCCI chambers to mobilize is when the Supreme Court declares the power of Congress to create pork barrel funds constitutional,” PCCI President Miguel Varela said in a statement.

Varela hailed the pronouncement by Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno that the High Tribunal will convene and deliberate on the law that would abolish the pork barrel as soon as possible.

High Tribunal Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said that the court will start deliberations by November before Congress finalizes the General Appropriations Act of 2014.

“Our chambers will then convene voters to discuss whether or not they will sign an initiative to abolish the congressional Priority Development Assistance Fund or the development assistance fund or any other discretionary funds,” Varela said.

For the People’s Initiative to succeed, the signatures of at least 10 percent of registered voters and 3 percent of voters from every congressional district are needed.

Varela said that the start of the education campaign phase of the initiative will be discussed at this year’s Philippine Business Conference to be held at the Manila Hotel from October 22 to 24. A resolution will be proposed and adopted during the conference, which will then be submitted to President Benigno Aquino 3rd.

“The nationwide chapters of the PCCI, as members of development councils, are among the leading influencers in their communities. Businessmen, as the largest taxpayers, have a right to express their opinion on how their taxes are spent,” Varela said.

Jan Erick C. Tutaan

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