MANILA -- A non-government organization urged lawmakers on Saturday to align “pork barrel” allocations in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015.

In an interview with Sun.Star, Social Watch Philippines co-convener Professor Leonor Briones said the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) given to congressmen and senators each year will help localize the impact of MDGs like poverty alleviation and universal primary education.

“Even if the share of the pork barrel funds in the national budget is small relatively to other allocations, this money will go a long way if our lawmakers will use this fund to combat extreme poverty, reducing child mortality, universal primary education, among others,” she said.

They should focus on these issues rather than construct new basketball courts or waiting sheds that no one bothered to use, added Briones.

The proposed P1.645 trillion-budget of the Aquino administration earmarked P22.3 billion for pork barrel, with each congressmen receiving P70 million while senators get P200 million.

Briones, national treasurer during the abbreviated rule of President Joseph Estrada, said that President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III will have his hands full in addressing the goals while asking the media to report both the “good” and “bad” developments regarding the implementation of MDGs. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)