August 24, 2013 12:07 AM
By: Maricyn A. De los Santos
ILOILO lawmakers have different opinions on President Aquino’s decision to abolish the controversial Priority Development Assistant Fund (PDAF), popularly known as “pork barrel”.
Iloilo City Rep. Jerry Treñas lauded the president’s decision to finally abolish the PDAF while keeping in mind the uninterrupted delivery of services needed by the people particularly those who are living outside “imperial Manila.”
“This unprecedented decision of the president would certainly help in ensuring transparency on the use of public funds,” Treñas said.
He added that the move would also clear the president of issues of favoritism on PDAF releases.
“It would also eliminate suspicions that the president is playing favorites on PDAF releases. Now we can concentrate on our job as legislators,” he added.
“President Aquino made a very brave decision on this pork barrel issue. This is a giant step forward in our fight against corruption,” he added.
LINE ITEM BUDGETING
But 3rd district Rep. Arthur Defensor Sr. does not support the abolition of PDAF and instead called for the removal of its negative aspects.
Defensor said the abolition of “pork barrel” would have long-term negative effects on community-funded projects like his PDAF-funded Kalahi-CIDDSS projects.
He said counterpart funds sourced from his PDAF can help build classrooms, Day Care centers, health centers, street lights or water systems.
The lawmaker suggests that instead of abolishing the “pork barrel”, the government can adopt a line-item budgeting, which will have rigid listing of appropriations for all the projects of congressmen and senators.
“It will replace the existing lump-sum scheme that has been practiced in the Lower House and Senate,” he said.
The process is more tedious but it is more transparent, he said.
The funds should also be allocated to implementing government agencies or local government units and not to non-government organizations, he added.
In his official Facebook account 2nd district Rep. Aracadio Gorriceta, said he is pushing for stricter guidelines on the release of PDAF.
“So that the people’s money will not be wasted,” the neophyte congressman said.
With the suspension order from Aquino, he said the Department of Budget and Management will have more time to investigate the release of PDAF.
Gorriceta assured that his other projects will still push through, including the concreting of Leon-Bucari Road (P230 million); San Jose, San Miguel-Bangga Dama Road (P 137 million); and Bangga Mauring, Leganes-Sta. Barbara Road (P 67 million).
5th district Rep. Niel Tupas Jr. said the President only removed the discretionary elements of PDAF but the funding remains although it will be allocated with stricter rules.
In an interview with Aksyon Radyo-Iloilo, Tupas said they will still study the new guidelines set by President Aquino.