Cebu lawmakers allot 'pork' to infra projects-A A +A
Monday, September 5, 2011
CEBU CITY -- Eight of Cebu's nine district congressmen allocated more than half of their Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) this year for infrastructure projects, according to Department of Budget and Management (DBM) records.
Out of a combined P264.5 million, the legislators earmarked P164 million or 62 percent for infrastructure.
Those in the cities identified mostly road concreting or rehabilitation, flood control and drainage systems as their projects, while those whose districts were dominated by towns identified multi-purpose buildings and barangay roads.
The P20 million he set aside for infrastructure represents just the first tranche of his total P70 million in PDAF this year, said Representative Gabriel Luis "Luigi" Quisumbing (Cebu Province, 3rd district).
Guidelines cover the use of PDAF or pork barrel funds.
Of the P70 million, the House committee on budget and appropriations has reportedly said each congressman should spend P30 million on "soft" programs and projects, while P40 million will be earmarked for "hard" or infrastructure projects.
Based on DBM records, "soft" programs identified in the General Appropriations Act include scholarship programs, medical assistance to indigent patients, livelihood support programs, the purchase of IT equipment, rural electrification, water supply, peace and order, and financial assistance to local government units (LGUs).
Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, a former congressman, said last week the agency will propose that the Aquino administration jumpstart some programs with "high economic multipliers."
Increased public spending will be one of the responses to continuing uncertainty in major economies abroad, including the United States.
Sun.Star Cebu earlier reported that according to DBM records, Cebu’s congressmen allocated 14.76 percent of their total PDAF of P220.5 million for health programs.
"But that was just the first tranche," said Quisumbing.
Some congressmen who received P20 million as their first tranche immediately channeled it for hard projects.
"Hard funding gets easily approved, you just identify the projects," said Quisumbing.
Others decided to set aside a portion of the P40 million for hard projects, to be used in case of an emergency.
DBM records revealed that two Cebu City legislators want their initial allocation spent entirely on infrastructure.
Representative Rachel "Cutie" del Mar of the north district identified 39 projects, mostly flood control, drainage systems, road rehabilitation and concreting.
South district Representative Tomas Osmeña allocated the P20 million to eight projects: the biggest at P7.22 million for road concreting and P5.2 million for rehabilitation of damaged roads. The records did not mention a specific area.
Representative Pablo Garcia's (Cebu province, second district) 20 infrastructure projects worth P19,500,000 are mostly barangay roads, multi-purpose buildings and public markets. His infrastructure allocation represented 56.5 percent of his first tranche.
There were no available DBM figures yet for third district Representative Pablo John Garcia's infrastructure allocations.
Secretary Abad said last week that additional projects being considered for the rest of 2011 include the hiring of nurses, rural electrification, aquaculture support, farm-to-market roads and on-site housing and resettlement.
Increased public spending and faster disbursements, he added, would help the economy deal with lower demand for Philippine exports and reduced incomes for overseas Filipino workers. (OCP of Sun.Star Cebu)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 05, 2011.