House leadership reviews revival of oversight panel-A A +A
Thursday, September 12, 2013
THE House leadership on Thursday said it is studying the possibility of reviving the congressional oversight committee following the decision to scrap the P25.2-billion priority development assistance funds (PDAF) from the 2014 national budget.
"I don't like to say no to that (revival of oversight committee). We are studying it," House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said referring to the proposal made by the independent bloc led by Leyte Representative Ferdinand Martin Romualdez.
In House Resolution 268, Romualdez and other independent lawmakers sought the reconstitution of the congressional oversight committee. Romualdez said its focus will be on the utilization of the abolished pork barrel funds and other financial disbursements under the national budget.
"Its revival is timely in the face of the rising clamor for government reforms for transparency of government operations to enhance public trust most especially against the perceived massive corruption among government officials," the authors said.
The congressional oversight committee was constituted in the 12th to 14th Congresses and was given the jurisdiction on "all matters directly and principally relating to the coordination of executive development planning and congressional action specifically the review of the execution and effectiveness of laws pursued through the Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council (Ledac), and the corresponding implementing rules and regulations thereof."
Belmonte said the leadership will consider the proposal of the independent bloc based on its effectiveness in the past Congresses.
"For instance, the House for a long time had the oversight committee. What did it do? So I want to find out how successful was it? I want to do all of that and not just act on a theoretical basis. We have pragmatic basis because we have had it in the past," he said.
On Wednesday, the House committee on appropriations agreed to chop up their pork barrel funds to different agencies.
The following agencies will get a percentage of the total PDAF budget: Departments of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), 35 percent; Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), 20 percent; Labor and Employment, 15 percent; Health, 15 percent; and 15 percent for education to be shared by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) with 10 percent and five percent for the Department of Education (DepEd).
While congressmen and senators will lose discretion over the use of their PDAF once the proposed budget is approved, they can still propose projects and programs for their constituents. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)