Despite COA report, President still against pork barrel abolition

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A Commission on Audit (COA) report confirming the gross misuse of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) still has not convinced President Benigno Aquino 3rd to scrap the congressional pork barrel.

The COA last said over a hundred lawmakers, including administration allies, earmarked P6 billion of their PDAF to 82 questionable NGOs from 2007 to 2009.
But President Benigno Aquino 3rd said Monday the COA report revealed that only a part of the PDAF was saddled with irregularities, and not the entire pork barrel system.
“There are proper and improper use of things,” Aquino said.
He said that when he was still a congressman in Tarlac he used his pork barrel to finance a road project which the national government seemed to have ignored.
“Maybe the reasonable thing to do is to impose the appropriate sanctions against those who used it improperly,” he said.
“So let’s fix the use of the PDAF, increase the restrictions, expand the safeguards and monitoring of the implementation,” he added.
The President said the opportunities for corruption “have been drastically reduced. But
think we can still improve the process to curb any chance of misuse.”
CATHERINE S. VALENTE

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