Armm scraps ‘pork barrel’-A A +A
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
THE Regional Legislative Assembly (RLA) of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Armm) have effectively waived their powers over the region’s version of “pork barrel,” a privilege of allocating funds for pet projects among members of Congress in the National Government.
This came about after the enactment of the Muslim Mindanao Act (MMA) 229 or the Public Works Act that was signed into law on Tuesday by Armm officer-in-charge Governor Mujiv Hataman.
Hataman said the law scraps the District Impact Funds (DIF), the uses of which were normally left to the full discretion of RLA members, and were said to be a huge source of corruption, just like its national counterpart, the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to some members of Congress.
Hataman said the DIP provision in the annually-passed regional public works law has been adopted by all past administrations since 1993.
Instead of the regional lawmakers determining their districts’ priority projects, community needs for infrastructure programs and projects will be established based on assessment and evaluation made by the Armm Public Works department, the local civil society organizations and people’s organizations as well as the local government units (LGU), Hataman said.
“The bidding process will be made open to the public, with representative observers from the CSOs (civil society organizations) and the media. We will also determine if some LGUs are capable of implementing their own infrastructure projects on a localized bidding process, or by administration, if they have the necessary equipment, or with the help of the Army Engineering Battalion in some cases may be,” he added.
MMA 229 provides for the utilization of P2 billion infrastructure fund program that the National Government annually transfers to the Armm, as required under Republic Act 9054, the Expanded Autonomy Act which serves as the region’s charter.
Assemblywoman Samira Gutoc-Tomawis, who represents the Women Sector, said it would be most welcome for the Filipino people for members of Congress to also waive their privilege over PDAF provisions of the national budget, under the annual General Appropriations Act. (Bong Garcia)