Prioritize ‘pork barrel scam,’ P-Noy urged-A A +A
Saturday, August 24, 2013
A CEBU-BASED nongovernment organization (NGO) passed a resolution requesting President Benigno Aquino III to direct government agencies to dig deeper into the alleged scam involving the “pork barrel” and the Malampaya Fund.
In a board meeting held last Aug. 13, the Mag-uugmad Foundation Inc. condemned the anomaly. It has different NGOs and people’s organizations based in Cebu, Bohol, Leyte and Samar.
Their resolution stated that some lawmakers and their staff, as well as other government officials, must be investigated for the plunder of the Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) and the government’s share of oil and gas proceeds from Malampaya near Palawan.
Recent investigative reports and a Commission on Audit report stated that billions in PDAF and about P900 million from the Malampaya Fund were funneled into ghost projects or fake NGOs working with Janet Lim-Napoles.
Widespread protests are expected on Monday as a reaction to the allegations of plunder.
The Mag-uugmad resolution stated the funds were meant to ease rural poverty and not end up in the bogus NGOs.
“As early as 2004, people were already outraged and shocked upon learning of the numerous anomalies in the use of PDAF of several senators and congressmen in the fertilizer scam amounting to P728 million, when the said amount was intended for the marginalized farmers,” it added.
Because of this lucrative practice, the group said, corrupt officials will most likely want to stay in their positions.
In a related development, Rep. Gerald Anthony Gullas (Cebu, 1st district) said he agrees with President Benigno Aquino III’s announcement to abolish the PDAF.
“I will support it. But if it hadn’t been abused, it would have been a good way for national funds to be distributed equally to every district in the nation. I’m just worried about how it will affect the Gullas medical assistance program in Vicente Sotto (Memorial Medical Center) and scholars, which I intended to use the PDAF for,” Gullas said in a text message to Sun.Star Cebu.
Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia (Cebu, 3rd district) said the public outcry and indignation against the alleged scam must be heeded.
“If the PDAF must be abolished, so be it. I just hope that educational and medical assistance previously funded by the PDAF may still continue under a proper system,” read her statement published in radio dyLA’s Facebook account.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 24, 2013.