If I were a congressman-A A +A
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
IF I were a congressman, I would renounce my PDAF and concentrate on making laws. I was elected to become a member of Congress and my concern is to legislate. In fact, during the campaign period, I already told the people about the duties of a congressman, what Congress is all about and its role in relation to the executive and legislative departments of government.
If I were a congressman, I will ask for a review of Article VI, Sec. 25. Par. 6 of the 1987 Constitution which says that: "Discretionary funds appropriated for particular officials shall be disbursed only for public purposes to be supported by appropriate vouchers and subject to such guidelines as may be prescribed by law." Perhaps it is this constitutional provision that justified the allocation of the pork barrel. The intent of the provision could be laudable but with the way things have turned out, maybe it's high time to review the propriety of the provision.
If I were a congressman, I will ask the Department of Budget and Management (DMB) to remove my P70 million annual PDAF and allocate the amount direct to the line agencies found in my district. These agencies will be the ones to submit the proposed specific projects to be funded which I do not need to approve. I will not name or choose the project or likewise dip my hands into the fund. Just let the said fund be part of the budget of the agencies involved. I will not even ask DBM to tag the P70 million as care of my office or that it came from me. Just a plain budgetary allocation for projects in my district since my district exists and it deserves a fund.
If I were a congressman, I will instead connect with the governors, mayors and other local officials regardless of their party affiliations. I will meet them quarterly and update them with what is going on with the national government. I will secure their inputs on what laws and resolutions should I spearhead in Congress. I will get to the bottom of their development concerns and maximize the power of my office to haggle with national agencies for the immediate approval of pending requests from local government units within my district.
If I were a congressman, I will pay former senator Panfilo Lacson a visit and ask how he was able to maintain his hold in the Upper House without touching his PDAF. I will also visit Napoles and find out how she looks in person.
If I were congressman, I will face those who voted me into office and explain that it is high time the PDAF should go. I should instead ask them to provide me issues and concerns that can be remedied by legislation. I should discourage them from asking funds to defray the cost of this and that project. But how about my scholars and the other projects I have committed to finish? Well, I have to tell them that I already endorsed their names and proposals to the proper government agencies for completion. These agencies will now be the ones to process their requests and not anymore through my office. I will likewise be candid with my friends that my task now is to propose bills and argue issues of national importance. How about those who come to my office to solicit? Well, I have to be honest and tell them that I can only give this much. I also have a family to feed and children to send to school and my monthly salary is just enough.
That is, if I were a congressman. The trouble is I am not.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on September 05, 2013.