PNoy's social fund to get P5-B from Pagcor
MANILA - The President’s Social Fund (PSF), labeled as presidential “pork” by critics, is getting nearly P5 billion from casino revenues.
The Philippine Gaming and Amusement Corp. (Pagcor) has reported to the House of Representatives that it is contributing P2.25 billion to President Aquino’s social fund this year and P2.5 billion next year.
Pagcor chairman Cristino Naguiat Jr. said those amounts are on top of the P2 billion it remitted to Malacañang last year for the PSF.
The President and Budget Secretary Florencio Abad have said the Palace social fund is being used prudently.
Aquino said he would order the Presidential Management Staff, which administers the PSF, to disclose in detail how the fund has been used since he assumed office in 2010.
He said the financial and medical assistance he had given to families of soldiers and policemen killed while on duty came from his social fund.
He said he would also ask the Department of Energy (DOE) to reveal how the Malampaya fund has been used.
He said he is very strict in using the money, making sure that it is disbursed only for purposes for which it is intended, like electrification projects and equipment upgrading for the Navy, Coast Guard and Air Force so they can better protect offshore energy assets.
The Malampaya fund holds the government’s share from an offshore natural gas project in Palawan.
The committee on appropriations of the House of Representatives has learned that Aquino had authorized the use of P841 million of the fund in 2011 for the electrification projects of scores of lawmakers. The committee was also informed that among other disbursements, then President Arroyo gave P900 million of the Malampaya proceeds to the Department of Agrarian Reform and more than P2 billion to the Philippine National Police.
The P900 million, intended for farmers, reportedly went to non-government organizations linked to detained kidnapping suspect and alleged pork barrel scam brains Janet Lim-Napoles.
Both the Malampaya fund and the PSF are not part of the national budget as they are treated as “off budget” appropriations. Thus, they are not reflected in the annual funding for the Office of the President and the DOE.
For next year, Aquino is seeking P2.791 billion for his office, up by P91 million from this year’s outlay.
That amount does not include the budgets of other agencies housed in Malacañang, like the Department of Budget and Management, Presidential Communications Operations Office and the office of former broadcaster Ricky Carandang, who holds a Cabinet rank and who is given separate funding.
Of the P2.791 billion, P1.998 billion will be for maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE), while P608.8 million will be for salaries and P183.4 million for capital outlay.
The nearly P2-billion MOOE allocation includes P250 million for confidential expenditures and another P250 million for intelligence expenses.
Combined, the two P250-million appropriations are the biggest MOOE expense in the proposed 2014 OP budget.
The second biggest is P336 million for travel. Aquino will have P106 million for “professional services,” the euphemism for consultants, P90 million for financial assistance, P96 million for representation expenses, and P33.4 million for rental expenses.
In deference to the President, senators and congressmen do not usually scrutinize the budget for his office nor require him to account for his intelligence fund. – With Evelyn Macairan, Manny Galvez