Mangudadatu, mayors oppose scrapping of 'pork'
COTABATO/MAGUINDANAO - Maguindanao Governor Esmael "Toto" Mangudadatu and some mayors are opposed to the abolition of the pork barrel being given to lawmakers, saying the funds are needed by the country's impoverished sector.
"Hindi naman siguro tama na alisin. Baguhin na lang ang name kasi maraming pwedeng mapuntahan ang pera from PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund) like education, scholars like here in Maguindanao," Mangudadatu said.
Upi town Mayor Ramon Piang, Sr. said scrapping the pork barrel entirely may not be helpful as some constituents depend on them.
"Yung IRA (Internal Revenue Allotment) naman natin hindi ganun kalaki masyado. The pork barrel has been helping so many local governments. Siguro naman kung talagang hindi nagagamit ng tama, i-abolish pero siguro can be funelled back to the local government in another way," Piang said.
South Upi Mayor Abdullah Campong suggested to the government to closely monitor the PDAF of lawmakers.
President Benigno Aquino III recently announced that the PDAF will be abolished in favor of a new and stricter way of distributing funds to constituents of legislative districts.
However, the announcement was met by criticism, saying the president did not respond to calls for the total abolition of the funds which many believe are being misused by lawmakers.
Mangudadatu said the province of Maguindanao has about 4,000 scholars receiving P6,000 allowance every semester. Some of these scholars study in various universities around the country.
"If hindi na pwede ang mga asphalt overlay, dredging and other projects, ilaan nalang pera sa education, marami ang nangangailangan ng education," he said.
He said the province is set to ask for a P300 million loan for the scholarship grant of some 20,000 students in the province. The governor said the approval of the loan will be a major breakthrough for the province.
The governor stressed that a chief executive's IRA must be used and invested in essential programs like scholarships.
"Here in the province of Maguindanao, even if I will no longer be the governor, I want this program to be institutionalized para iyung susunod sa akin maipagpapatuloy ang programang ito" he said.
Meanwhile, the Maguindanao provincial council is set to pass a resolution that will establish a provincial education department.
"Walang complete devolution in ARMM (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) ng mga agencies na iyan so gusto natin meron tayong provincial education department," he said.