LUCENA CITY: Former Quezon Fourth District Representative Lorenzo “Erin” Tañada 3rd, author of the Freedom of Information Bill can heave a sigh of thanks, his proposal hasn’t been enacted that may allow a long hard look at a dubious project that used up P10 million of his “pork” allocation.
The Manila Times learned that records from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) in its fiscal year 2012 declared Tañada allotted from his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) P10 million for a livelihood program entitled “Hair Cutting and Cosmetology” to the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF), as an implementing unit.
Such livelihood project dated September 7, 2012 was designed for women, children and Muslim communities in five municipalities in dourth district (Alabat, Perez, Quezon, Guinayangan and Tagka-wayan) carried out by the NCMF.
Previous interviews with Budget Secretary Florencio Abad clarified that NCMF, headed by former elections Commissioner Mehol Sadain, is not an implementing agency for lawmakers’ funds.
The Commission of Audit (COA) website revealed that during the years 2009-2011, NCMF received a total of P96.5 million from PDAF but the audit reports failed to identify the lawmaker-fund givers.
Adel Arandela, president of farmer’s coalition Nagkakaisang Ugnayan ng mga Magsasaka at Manggagawa sa Niyugan in Quezon province and assigned to the said district said in a phone interview reveal that they did not hear about or ever recall such livelihood program in their area from the office of Tañada when he was still a congressman.
He added that such huge funds should be given to the farmers in Tañada’s district, not for certain sectors that obviously are non-existent. “Our farmers need all the support they can get, but definitely not some hair-cutting and beauty program,” Arandela quipped.
Meanwhile, as of press time, this writer’s queries to the office of former Deputy Speaker Erin Tañada, as well as e-mailed inquiry to NCMF went unanswered.