House set to approve 2014 budget sans ‘pork’-A A +A
Friday, September 27, 2013
THE House of Representatives is set to approve on second reading the proposed P2.26-trillion 2014 national budget Friday night without the usual priority development assistance fund (PDAF) or pork barrel.
To recall, members of the House committee on appropriations agreed to distribute the P25.2-million PDAF to several government agencies following the public's outrage over the alleged misuse of PDAF.
The PDAF has been a controversial issue in the past months after senators and congressmen were tagged in a multi-billion peso pork barrel scam allegedly masterminded by businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles. Napoles is now detained at Fort Santo Domingo in Laguna for the serious illegal detention case filed by one of the pork scam whistleblowers. She is also facing plunder charges before the Office of the Ombudsman.
"We will do our best to approve it tonight. As for re-alignments, I don't think there will be re-alignments because most of the budget is already itemized. The PDAF was scrapped and it was re-aligned into items in social services," House appropriations committee chair and Davao City Representative Isidro Ungab told reporters in an ambush interview.
Ungab said congressmen were tasked to submit their list of proposed infrastructure projects to be implemented by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) by Friday night.
"We expect everybody to give because everybody wants to nominate good projects for their constituents and sectors," Ungab said.
The seven-member Makabayan bloc, however, said it will not submit their proposed infrastructure projects. The seven lawmakers belonging to the party-list groups Gabriela, Anakpawis, Bayan Muna, Kabataan, and ACT Teachers earlier shunned their share of the pork barrel fund.
Each congressman is entitled to use P24.5 million for the construction and rehabilitation of local roads/bridges/footbridges, classrooms or academic buildings, multi-purpose buildings, and level 2 and 3 water supply systems or salintubig program.
Under the menu guidelines sent to members of the House of Representatives, each district and party-list congressman is entitled to a maximum of five projects, the amount of which shall not be less than P2 million.
Except for the projects to be proposed by party-list congressmen, no project/s should be identified outside the legislative district of the congressmen.
After the approval of the budget on second reading, a small committee will be tasked to discuss amendments. The said committee shall also decide which of the proposed local infrastructure projects have passed the menu.
"During the break there will be a small committee that will collate all the amendments so tamang-tama, before mapasa on third reading complete na amendments," Ungab said.
Congress will be on a two-week break from September 28 to October 13. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)