Binay defends PDAF but fails to disclose own ‘pork’-A A +A
Monday, September 30, 2013
VICE President Jejomar Binay defended the controversial Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel amid calls to abolish it from the budget of senators and members of the House of Representatives.
Binay said legislators need no funds to implement projects, but rather constitute laws for certain programs for their respective districts.
He said the pork barrel concept “is good,” that it can establish farm-to-market roads, scholarship grants, hospital needs of the lawmakers’ constituents and many other helpful projects for the betterment of the people.
“Ang masama lamang, sa napakaliit na porsiyento na nagnanakaw, pero sa maraming gumawa ng tama, hindi naman tama ‘yon. Ang kongreso (and Senate) taga-gawa ng budget. Ang trabaho ng Congress taga approve ng budget. Pag nagawa na ang budget, pupunta ‘yan sa mga implementing agency. Hindi trabaho ng Congress na mag-implement,” Binay told reporters in Cagayan de Oro on September 27.
He said following the approval of budget in Congress, the budget will go to the Office of the President, and the implementation of the projects would be designated to the concerned national government agencies.
Binay cited the Department of Health that implements health, the Department of Agriculture for the farmers, and the Department of Public Works and Highways for the infrastructure, among others.
“Kailangan may mag-implement ng PDAF, sa implementation pupunta sa ghost NGOs (non-government organizations), ghost foundations, di ninakaw lang.’ Yon ang masama. Pero ‘yong gumagawa ng mga proyekto, diba tama lang naman ‘yon (to continue the pork barrel fund)?” he added.
“San ba nagsimula ang problema, sa implementasyon, dinaan sa NGO pagtulong sa mga mahihirap, pero non-existent. ’Yan ang target sa imbestigasyon,” Binay added.
Binay admitted that he manages his own pork barrel fund under the Office of the Vice President, “pero up to the last centavo ay well-accounted po.”
But the Vice President failed to disclose the amount of his PDAF.
He said he would support the new concept of the PDAF lining up the proposed programs and projects for legislation and that no single legislator implements it and it has to be published before implementation.
“Dati kasi lump sum ang PDAF. Hindi mo malaman kung saan pumupunta ang budget. Kailangan babantayan ito ng taong bayan. Ipa-publish, bantayan natin,” Binay said.
Meanwhile, some P25.4 billion intended to lawmakers’ PDAF have been taken out from the P2.268-trillion 2014 national budget during the House budget deliberation on Saturday, said a report from a national daily Sunday.
The report added the PDAF amounting to P25.2 billion, plus Binay’s P200-million pork barrel, will now be distributed to various government programs such as education, health care, employment support, infrastructure and “assistance to persons in crisis.”
Of the P25.4 billion, the health and labor departments will be allotted each with P3.691 billion. The Department of Social Welfare and Development will get P4.713 billion.
The Commission on Higher Education, for its part, will now have an additional P2.669, while the Department of Education will have P1.022 billion and the Department of Public Works and Highways with P9.954 billion.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on September 30, 2013.