Mindanao wants ‘pork’ fund restructure, modernize


WHILE Filipinos are divided on the demand for total scrap of the annual allocation known officially as the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) due to reported misuse of billions of “pork” fund, Mindanao leaders and professionals are suggesting restructure with modern “safety nets” and an apolitical indictment of all its officials.

The estimated more than one million protesters across the country on Monday demanding a total scrap of the annual allocation known officially as the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) claiming that it has enriched few people were also joined by Mindanao professionals unveiling the ills of “pork” fund mishandling in their regions.

However, except from the cities of Davao, Malaybalay and Zamboanga, no mass protest actions for PDAF abolition noticed by journalists.

Mindanao leaders, students, workers and farmers opposed the total scrapping of PDAF and asserted the need for filing of charges against legislators and their associates in non-existing foundations and corporations that handled huge “pork” funds.

In Buluan town of Maguindanao province, 4,254 students with their poor parents converged Monday at provincial satellite capitol and dismayed about the abolition. They instead signed scholarship of Maguindanao Program on Educational Assistance and Community Development (MagPEACE) contract sponsored by Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu oif Maguindanao.

Gov. Mangudadatu said the PDAF should be restructured and used for education in Muslim areas gripped by high illiteracy levels.

“Also, it should be modernized as what we “governors” are having, by way of internet transaction, everything is recorded,” he added.

In North Cotabato, where Muslims natives, Christian settlers and indigenous tribes co-exist, thousands of them just witnessed the opening Monday of the Kalivungan Festival. Some of them demanded that a restructured PDAF should be used solely for education and agriculture where “poverty abounds.”

North Cotabato Governor Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza told the Manila Times “Barangays, municipalities and provinces will benefit from PDAF if properly used. Congress, frankly speaking, should only legislate. However, there are requests coming from the localities for projects or funds. PDAF is accommodation because of local concerns. People are asking its abolition. Congress have to listen.”

Mayor Ronnel Rivera of General Santos City led Monday his constituents in a day-long summit that tackled mechanisms of pursuing his administration’s extensive educational development campaign. MOH I. SAADUDDIN



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