House resolution seeks PDAF abolition
MANILA - The House of Representatives has started circulating a resolution among congressmen expressing their support for the abolition of the P25 billion Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) of lawmakers from the 2014 budget.
The resolution wants to endorse current beneficiaries of PDAF projects to concerned implementing agencies.
National Unity Party (NUP) Congressman Elpidio Barzaga said he has signed the resolution.
"I'm in favor of abolition. I also signed the position of the House na aalisin ang pork barrel in so far as 2014 budget is concerned but we're also asking government agencies to help our constituents. There's a resolution, we are in favor of abolishing pork barrel when the budget is presented in the floor. We will be asking for the removal of the P25 billion pork barrel and we appeal to government agencies to take care of our constituents regarding their needs," he said.
Barzaga said this was the agreement reached upon by the House leadership Monday afternoon.
He said the resolution will be signed by the majority. "The NUP will meet this afternoon and we're viewing this problem on national scale."
"Wala nang line items, wala na soft projects in so far as lesgislators are concerned," he added.
'WE ARE SADDENED'
Liberal Party Laguna Rep. Dan Fernandez said different caucuses are being conducted to get the pulse of the membership.
"We are saddened that we have to sacrifice the PDAF of every congressman," he said.
Fernandez said he hopes critics of pork barrel see both the good and bad sides of PDAF, noting it has has been used to fund medical assistance.
"These are things people don't see. Sana request, be considerate to some aspects of the PDAF," he added.
"We have to listen to the outcry of the people. 'Di naman makapal ang mukha ng mga mambabatas. We are asking for understanding nung mga nag-rarally against PDAF, be considerate," he said.
Fernandez said critics only base their criticism on some NGOs who misused funds, even if PDAF also went to good projects.
However, not all of the President's allies support the PDAF abolition.
NPC FREE TO SIGN
Nationalist People's Coalition Rep. Kimi Cojuangco said the NPC is not signing the resolution although no member is prevented from signing in an individual capacity.
Cojuangco said the NPC had a caucus Monday.
"So far, we are following all the new guidelines. I actually welcome this because transparency is good for all. The ongoing projects are on hold. Paralyzed! Personally, I feel very sad for my district as we are now affected by the hold on all PDAF releases. Mixed emotions because everybody is being dragged into this mess when majority of legislators have used their PDAF properly. Truly sad," she said.
Cojuangco also cast doubts on the COA's special audit of the PDAF.
"Also, many feel that COA has not been reporting in a forthcoming manner. They release figures without fully discussing the process of the flow of PDAF funds in the 'food chain'--implementing agencies, DBM [Department of Budget and Management], and resident auditors all have explaining to do," she said.
"This is a case of guilty with out even looking at documentation. This is dangerous and I think all information should be threshed out before making statements that sound 'Final'. Guilty should be punished but also innocent should not be dragged in," she added.
NPC's Valenzuela City Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian said, "We have to be very cautious in abolishing the PDAF is my own personal view. Abolishing it might change the local political dynamics. If you abolish it, you might see heavier money politics playing a role. Only the rich candidates will have the capability helping people."
"The reality is our constituents have numerous needs, whether educational or medical. Candidates will satisfy them one way or the other. The PDAF if used wisely can help the needs of our constituents," he said.
Weeks ago, the independent bloc supported Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza's resolution to suspend the PDAF.
The left-wing Makabayan bloc also filed a bill to abolish the PDAF system.