Nongovernment organizations (NGOs) have been banned from implementing projects funded by government money under the new guidelines adopted by the House of Representatives for the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocations.
Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya, vice chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, said Friday Speaker Feliciano Belmonte issued the guidelines for PDAF spending.
“The first and foremost is that giving PDAF funding to NGOs is a no-no.” Andaya said. Likewise, [using PDAF to fund]consumables, such as fertilizer, seeds or anything that is difficult to account, will be prohibited,” Andaya said.
Under the old system, each House member is entitled to an annual P70 million PDAF, and the allocation is provided for in lump sum under the national budget.
But President Benigno Aquino 3rd abolished the old system after a Commission on Audit report showed that at least P6-billion in PDAF were given to 82 questionable NGOs, 10 of which were run by Janet Lim-Napoles.
The President ordered the PDAF allocation subjected to line-item budgeting, meaning that the lawmakers must identify their PDAF beneficiaries under the national budget and seek congressional approval for it.
Andaya, however, said the amount of the new PDAF for each lawmaker is yet to be determined since the lawmakers would still have to talk to their constituents, political party leaders and colleagues.
“We haven’t reached that point [of identifying the amount]. For now, we are sticking to what the President said on what should be on the menu. We still have to talk about the amount and it would take some time because of the consultations,” Andaya, who served as the Budget secretary during the Arroyo administration, added.
He declined from suggesting a reasonable amount for the new PDAF allocation, and instead hinted that the President is well-informed of the needs on the ground being a former lawmaker himself.
President Aquino was Tarlac congressman for nine years and a senator for three years.
Consultations for the new amount have not started, but Andaya assured that the proposed P2.268 trillion budget will still be approved by Congress on time.
LLANESCA T. PANTI