President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s discretionary fund will remain in lump sums because the beneficiaries are hard to determine, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said Saturday.
Abad made the explanation a day after President Aquino announced the scrapping of the lump sum P25-billion allotment for the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) in the proposed 2014 budget.
As a result, the PDAF allocation will be subjected to line item budgeting and included in the General Appropriations Act or the proposed 2014 budget.
This means that the lawmakers have to identify the beneficiaries of their PDAF before 2014 starts.
The President’s discretionary fund in lump sum worth P1 trillion under the 2014 proposed budget includes allocation for government corporations, local governments, calamity fund and contingency fund.
“Let us look at Calamity fund. How can we identify the number of typhoons that will come to the country next year? We can’t be so sure of the amount that we will need for that. When Typhoon Pablo hit Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley this year, the government spent P11 billion for relief and rehabilitation. Our Calamity fund for 2013 is only pegged at P7.5 billion. This is exactly why we need Contingency fund,” Abad told Radyo ng Bayan.
“Can you imagine us asking money from Congress only after the typhoon brought damages? That cannot be right,” he added.
The contingency fund, Abad underscored, also provides for emergency repatriations of overseas Filipinos in conflict areas, or combat operations of the Philippine National Police.
LLANESCA T. PANTI