Leonardia: Rising above PDAF

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Friday, July 11, 2014


“I RISE above PDAF.”

This was declared by Bacolod City Lone District Representative Evelio Leonardia during his State of the District Address (Soda) Thursday that coincided with his birthday celebration held at Garden Royale Hotel.

He said that “despite the fact that he assumed his post in the most interesting of times – at the height of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scandal with an angry nation demanding for the abolition of the pork barrel system” – still he was able to rise above the said circumstances.

Leonardia reported that despite the lack of PDAF, he was able to source from various government agencies the sum of P892.843 million for several projects in the past year.

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“We may have lost the PDAF or the pork barrel funds, but we have not lost our dreams for a better Bacolod. Not a bad record for a year’s work and certainly, it is an encouragement for a neophyte congressman working at a time of belt-tightening and with even tighter and more stringent rules,” the legislator said.

He noted that the abolition of PDAF immediately took away at the very least P70 million a year for various projects.

“Anyway you look at it, that was a big loss. But maybe because I am a neophyte congressman, a freshman so to speak I simply refused to accept that our congressional leadership would rise and fall on the issue of pork barrel alone,” Leonardia said.

He added: “Instead of wallowing in despair over this, I took the PDAF abolition as a challenge, and as a true representative of our people, went from one cabinet secretary to another, from office to office, seeking ways and means that would help us realize our dream for a better Bacolod.”

He said the Department of Public Works and Highways started numerous projects which are now in various stages of implementation.

These include the P612.648 million to improve traffic condition, concreting, re-blocking and widening of national roads, and to address flooding problems, construction of drainage system, slope protection, and flood control projects.

Also P30 million was set aside to help farmers improve their production and income with fund sourced from the Department of Agriculture to build three kilometers of farm-to-market roads, Leonardia said.

The amount of P29.923 million, he said, was allocated for the 27 various water sanitation facilities, rain water collection facilities and school buildings/classrooms in elementary and high schools which were either completed or in various stages of construction.

Leonardia added that a total of P59.234 million was spent for asphalt overlaying in 14.6 kilometers of national roads while P27.413 million was allocated for local infrastructure projects such as eight multi-purpose buildings, one local road, and a foot bridge located in various barangays.

To address the shortage of classrooms, a total of P94.024 million has been sourced by Leonardia for the construction of two units of four-storey 20-classroom school buildings in Bata National High School and Barangay Singcang-Airport National High School.

Also P39.6 million was sourced from the Motor Vehicle Users Charge managed by the Road Board to fund the construction of three pedestrian overpasses in front of Sum-ag Public Market, Rizal Elementary School and E. L. Jayme Elementary School in Mansilingan, the lawmaker said.

Moreover, Leonardia reported that he is part of eight House committees, including Energy, Appropriations, Public Works, Tourism, Local Government, Legislative Franchises, Inter-Parliamentary Relations and Diplomacy, Housing and Urban Development. He is also the senior vice chair of the House transportation committee.

Leonardia said he filed 43 bills, including House Bill 4692 which seeks to amend Republic Act 8049 or the Anti-Hazing Law, and the bill which sought inquiry into the security of airports.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on July 11, 2014.

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