The lawmakers from the House of Representatives are in favor of implementing a line item budgeting scheme for the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), meaning that the PDAF spending of each lawmaker will be identified in the national budget book.
Rep. Sherwin Tugna of Citizens Battle Against Corruption party list, Rep. Lito Atienza of Buhay Hayaang Yumabong party list and Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez of Leyte province all agreed that itemizing the proceeds of PDAF allocation would ensure that PDAF is spent where it is supposed to be go: social services for the people.
Each lawmaker in the House of Representatives is entitled to P70 million of PDAF annually. Of this amount, P40 million should be spent on hard projects or construction and repairs of bridges, roads and classrooms, while P30 million is for education and health assistance.
Tugna cited that there is no reason for the Palace to intervene with the PDAF spending of a lawmaker under a line item budgeting because the a lawmaker needs to follow a menu prescribed by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) in the first place.
“The intention and rationale for line item budget nomination in the PDAF is for transparency. As long as the nominated projects of a Congressman are in the menu prescribed by the DBM, the Office of the President has no ground to disapprove it,” Tugna said in a text message.
“In essence and in effect, the current situation and submission of a nomination [for PDAF spending]to the Committee on Appropriation in the House and subjected for approval by the DBM can be likened to supervision by the Office of the President,” Tugna added.
The DBM prohibits PDAF spending for fiestas, waiting sheds and using a non-government organization as implementing agency for the PDAF allocation.
Atienza, for his part, agreed with Tugna, saying that PDAF allocation is already beyond the reach of the Chief Executive once the proceeds of the PDAF is already provided for in the national budget under line-item budgeting.
“It used to be that way so there is nothing wrong with going back to that system where all the items for PDAF are identified. If it can’t be all included in the budget book, it can be uploaded in a website. In that way, there is no need for us to wait for SAROs,” Atienza stressed.
Atienza was referring to the Special Allotment Release Order which is issued by the DBM for the release of the PDAF.
“The line item budgeting is the simple way to do it. After all, the lawmakers should not partake in the PDAF funds. PDAF should be channeled to the implementing government agencies,” Romualdez added.