DSWD can’t touch P10M pork in 2013-A A +A
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
THE Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Central Visayas has more than P10 million from the Priority Development and Assistance Fund (PDAF) of legislators that cannot be used.
The amount is part of the PDAF that was frozen due to a temporary restraining order issued by the Supreme Court last month.
DSWD 7 budget officer Patricia Remolador said, though, that the PDAF from 2012 worth P26,561,636 may be processed as long as the agency will be the one to implement the projects.
DSWD 7 was named implementing agency of a total of P61,273,222 in PDAF for 2012. More than P34.7 million has been spent so far.
PDAF allocations to DSWD 7 in 2013 reached P33.28 million, out of which P23,148,404 has been spent as assistance to individuals in crisis situations, livelihood projects and other programs of the agency, such as the Kapit Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan/Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services.
In the case of medical assistance, DSWD 7 protective services unit head Shalaine Marie Lucero said the agency uses the PDAF to directly pay pharmacies. The same is done to hospitals and funeral parlors. “The money does not go to a particular person,” she added.
“The maximum amount that we can issue through checks is P25,000,” she said.
She stressed that DSWD does not release funds unless all requirements, such as medical certificates and barangay clearance, have been complied with.
DSWD 7 assistant regional director Nemia Antipala said the PDAF augments the agency’s budget under the General Appropriations Act.
For this year, the DSWD 7 got P643 million from the annual budget to defray maintenance and operating expenses, personnel services for centers and field offices.
As of Aug. 31, DSWD 7 had P145,780,012.23 left in its budget, which is not enough.
DSWD 7 plans to ask for additional funds from the DSWD central office.
Remolador said DSWD is using a budget re-enacted from the last three or four years.
Meanwhile, anti-pork barrel advocates in Cebu have prepared 10,000 for this Sunday’s rally.
The Cebu Coalition against the Pork Barrel System has so far gathered 5,000 signatures to support a petition that calls for, among others, the “immediate resignation of public servants who are formally charged by the Department of Justice (and) punishment” of those connected to the pork barrel scam.
The coalition also wants all public funds allegedly pocketed by those involved in the scam to returned to government coffers.
The coalition will hold a rally at the Plaza Independencia, following a march from the Fuente Osmeña rotunda around 1 p.m. There will be a mass at the Plaza Independencia at 3 p.m. The rally proper will start at 4 p.m.
Rudy Alix of the Movement for Livable Cebu (MLC) said about 40 organizations joined meetings for the rally and more are expected to be involved.
Sectoral representatives will be allowed to speak about the ills of the PDAF.
Politicians will not be invited on stage but they can join the rally.
Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama said he will be joining since he has always been against the PDAF even before the multi-billion pork barrel scam was uncovered.
MLC convenor Marc Canton said the rally is expected to gather 8,000 people, far from the 3,200 participants of the Aug. 26 rally in the same venue because of the help of the Cebu Archdiocese.
“The call is for everyone to be concerned, to be discerning, to be involved,” read a statement by Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma.
“I enjoin the whole Archdiocese of Cebu to be actively involved in this activity. Ask the people to sign the unity statement. Explain its contents to the people during homilies. Do the same thing in the schools and among our church organizations and communities,” Palma's letter read.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 24, 2013.