Release of the Garcias’ pork barrel funds-A A +A
Friday, March 15, 2013
IN REACTION to my column here and to my commentaries over dySS Super Radyo, Acting Gov. Agnes Magpale wrote to inform me that she already ordered the release of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of third district congressman and One Cebu gubernatorial candidate Pablo John Garcia as his requests are in accordance with the special allotment release order (Saro). But she withheld some questionable items.
The letter signed by Magpale’s legal counsel Magnificus Cañete said that Capitol released Pablo John's pork barrel to its intended beneficiaries last March 13. “In relation to the PDAF of Pablo John Garcia,” it noted, “a total of P271,781.13 in request for release of funds reached the office of Acting Governor Magpale as follows: catering services P27,704.12; burial assistance P30,000; scholarship fee P111, 477.01; and distribution of insurance cards P102,600.
Canete said that funding for the distribution of insurance cards, burial assistance and scholarship fees has been released. “We have matched each of these items to the corresponding Saro and these are in accordance with its purpose--in particular, (1) health and medical assistance; (2) social services; and (3) comprehensive and integrated delivery of social services.”
“However,” the letter continued, “we have not released funding for catering services totaling P27,704.12 because these services do not appear to be consistent with the purposes of the Saro. To be specific, the funds were intended for a senior citizen general assembly and two monthly Association of Barangay Council (ABC) meetings with no specific purpose.
“Additionally, some supporting documents are absent, and we noted with reservation that catering services were procured by negotiated procurement, having the same three suppliers for all of the catering services even though the meetings were held in the different towns in the third district. Absent sufficient justification as to how the catering services are in line with purposes of the applicable Saro, we decline to release funds for these catering services.”
It’s good that the acting governor listened to public sentiments. But what about the pork barrel of second district Rep. Pablo Garcia? I reviewed some of his requests and there are items that I think can be released immediately to the proposed beneficiaries.
A total of P72,877,237.75 of Noy Pabling's PDAF has been entrusted to the Capitol. Some of these funds were secured when Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was president. I don't know why these funds were not used or disbursed during that particular term of the congressman.
Here is the breakdown: financial assistance P8,569,745.75; food security for indigent families P25,885,000; food security for senior citizens P11,500,000; feeding program for indigent children P2,000,000; victims of man-made and natural calamities P4,250,000; Philhealth counterpart P142,492 social services, medical, hospitalization and burial assistance P4,600,000; construction/ repair/ rehabilitation of public market P1,500,000; construction/ repair/ rehabilitation of multi-purpose building P1,900,000; construction/ repair/ rehabilitation of barangay road P11,560,000 and rural electrification P900,000,
To be fair with the congressman, I would advise Magpale to release those items that are in consonance with the Saro. If she thinks that the congressman will use it to gain political advantage because he is running for reelection, then forgo the release and let the next governor disburse it.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 16, 2013.