• DBM tightens rules in release of ‘pork barrel’

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    The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) is set to impose tighter rules in releasing the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of lawmakers, according to DBM Secretary Florencio Abad.

    Abad made the disclosure when he faced members of the House of Representatives on Wednesday.

    Rep. Antonio Tinio of Alliance of Concerned Teachers inquired what the government is doing to address reports on the alleged misuse of PDAF or “pork barrel.”

    “The allegations on PDAF show there is a need to tighten the PDAF system [of spending]further. There will be recommendations and it will be coordinated with Senate President Drilon and Speaker (Feliciano) Belmonte to eliminate, if not minimize, the leakages arising from the disbursement,” Abad told the House Committee on Appropriations.

    Each member of the House of Representatives is entitled to P70 million PDAF every year. Of this amount, P40 million is for hard projects such as repair/construction of roads, bridges and classrooms, while P30 million is for soft projects such as education and medical assistance.

    “We have started reviewing the phases of PDAF, from identification, releasing and monitoring its implementation, but it would be premature to divulge our findings at this point since we only recently received the instruction from the President,” Abad added.

    Abad said his department is not responsible in ensuring that the ‘pork’ recipient is not a fake agency or group.

    “If majority of legislators are using their PDAF prudently and well, they should not be punished for the fraud committed by some. As for the retention or abolition of PDAF, I don’t want to preempt the wisdom of this chamber,” Abad said.

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