House panel okays distribution of ‘pork’ to agencies-A A +A
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
MANILA -- The P25.2-billion budget for the priority development assistance funds (PDAF) of congressmen and senators will be distributed to government agencies, the House committee on appropriations said Wednesday.
The PDAF or "pork barrel" fund has increased to P25.4 billion after Vice President Jejomar Binay junked the P200-million fund allocated to his office for local projects.
Davao City Representative Isidro Ungab, chairman of the House appropriations panel, said the budget will be distributed to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) with P8.8 billion, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) with P5.1 billion, and P3.8 billion each to the Department of Education (DepEd)/Commission on Higher Education (Ched), Department of Labor and Employment (Dole), and Department of Health (DOH).
"The decision was based on absorptive capacity of each agency. DPWH has the biggest absorptive capacity because they have a good network throughout the provinces and region," Ungab said.
Ungab explained that members of Congress can still recommend projects, although the discretion is entirely left to the government agencies.
"It depends on the persuasion and recommendation, it can be accepted or rejected," he said.
Following the abolition of the controversial pork barrel, the House committee on appropriations also approved the proposed P2.268-trillion general appropriations bill.
The national budget for 2014 is scheduled to be debated in the plenary Monday next week. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)