PDAF, govt funds should be for ‘efficient spending’ on health, education, infra – World Bank

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Government funds such as the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) should be looked at on how it is spent as the country needs to do “efficient spending” for further economic development, according to World Bank economist.

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Rogier van den Brink, World Bank Philippines lead economist, told reporters on the East Asia and Pacific Economic Update launch that the country needs to have more resources and that funds and revenues of the government like the PDAF should be monitored on how it is spent.

“This government and civil society should take a hard look at how we are spending the money because if you want to have an efficient spending on health, education and infrastructure, we need to review the systems to which the money get spent,” van den Brink said.

Van den Brink said that the government fund and tax system should complement the consecutive gross domestic product (GDP) growth—7.8 percent in the first quarter and 7.5 percent in the second quarter of the year—and the optimism of credit ratings agencies, financial institutions and neighboring countries to the country’s economy.

Earlier, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said that the Congress proposed the P24.4 billion PDAF for 2014 to go to scholarships and education programs of the Commission on Higher Education (P2.7 billion) and Department of Education (P1 billion).

Aside from the aforementioned, PDAF is also being allocated to hospital and medical assistance of the Department of Health (P3.7 billion), persons in-need assistance programs of Department of Social Welfare and Development (P4.7 billion), trainings and employment opportunities of Department of Labor as well as Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (P3.7 billion) and a large part for infrastructure projects of the Department of Public Works and Highways (P9.6 billion).

The PDAF—halted at present through the Supreme Court’s temporary restraining order—was said to benefit senators and congressmen by receiving P200 million and P70 million each. The funds distribution was reportedly initiated by alleged mastermind Janet Napoles, who distributed the funds to the members of the Senate, House of Representatives, as well as bogus non-government organizations. KRISTYN NIKA M. LAZO

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