A party-list bloc in the House of Representatives has filed a measure scrapping not only the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of legislators but that of the President as well.
The Makabayan bloc, which groups party-list representatives from Bayan Muna, Gabriela, Alliance of Concerned Teachers, Anakpawis and Kabataan, introduced House Bill 1535 following the reported misuse of P10 billion of the pork barrel of lawmakers in the last decade.
The fund was channeled to different fake and non-existent foundations and non-government organizations.
Under House Bill 1535, the President will be prohibited from providing a budgetary item or including in the proposed budget lump sum allocations to the PDAF and other discretionary amounts.
On top of the legislators’ PDAF, the bill will also do away with the Presidential pork barrel funds, such as the President’s Social Fund sourced from revenue-generating agencies like Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office and the Malampaya Fund.
“We call on like-minded legislators in the House to support our bill and urge the members of the Senate to file a counterpart measure. The full force of the law should be meted out to those who plundered the nation’s coffers and enriched themselves at the people’s expense,” Makabayan said in the bill.
The PDAF system, Makabayan said, is a form of institutionalized patronage and officially tolerated graft and corruption.
Each House member is entitled to a P70-million PDAF annually. Half of the amount, P35 million is for soft projects such as education and medical assistance, and the other half for hard projects such as construction and/or repairs of roads and bridges.
“Contrary to claims by other legislators that more and better safeguards can be implemented to prevent abuse, the current scam proves that the pork barrel system is beyond salvaging and should be abolished,” Makabayan said.
“We are confident that the righteous public outrage generated by the sheer magnitude of the plunder allegedly perpetrated by this P10-billion pork barrel scam will provide the momentum needed to move this issue forward,” the bloc said.
LLANESCA T. PANTI