Does B.S. Aquino’s PDAF Abolition Mean Centralized, President-Controled Pork Barrel Allocation System?

Pres. B.S. Aquino said it’s now time to abolish lawmakers’ pork barrel. Should we now start strewing ashes upon our heads and ask forgiveness for prematurely bashing the President? Not so fast!

Move over, Congress. It looks like the President has a unique idea!

It appears that B.S. Aquino simply delivered a carefully worded, packaged speech to appease the already fed up, angry people. Let’s try to dissect what he actually said to know whether he’s just contradicting himself.

First the President said:

Despite the reforms we have implemented, we have seen, as the events of the past weeks have shown, that greater change is necessary to fight against those who are determined to abuse the system. It is time to abolish the PDAF.”

Then he stated the following:

Now, we will create a new mechanism to address the needs of your constituents and sectors, in a manner that is transparent, methodical and rational, and not susceptible to abuse or corruption.”

Now that’s pure BS. The President and his propagandists seriously need to consult a dictionary to know the objective, standard meaning of the word “abolish” or “abolition”. It does not mean to replace or “to create a new mechanism”. 

What he’s trying to say is, his own improved pork barrel model– supposedly configured to be more accountable and transparent– will only replace the graft-ridden PDAF first introduced in 1990. That reminds me of self-aggrandizing yet funny King Julien of the blockbuster movie Madagascar who loves and admires his own unique plan.

One question:  Will he also abolish his own P1.3 trillion pork barrel? Nope! The President’s Social Fund (PSF) stays. The executive pork is big enough to grease the president’s expanding political machine.

We can only speculate that the President’s plan is to centralize pork barrel allocations so that citizens and sectors will “get their fair share in the national budget”.

ABOLISH

The question is not who will ensure proper and transparent allocation of budget, but who will control the budget.

The president’s proposed system will be more transparent, according to Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Butch Abad.

Aquino’s plan will include lawmakers who can still propose certain projects for their constituents but these will be subject to several restrictions. Oh, good to know! But I think this is actually a lot shrewder than Gloria Arroyo’s notorious practice of pork impoundment to protect herself against corruption charges and impeachment complaints.

ABS-CBNnews reports:

“The identification and allocation of funds by, for example, a congressman will now go to the budget process. They will propose, earmark. That will have to be approved by the House and that will have to be clearly spelled out in detail unlike before in the PDAF, it’s a big lump sum and you don’t know really from the very start where that lump sum is going to go,” Abad said.

There will now be a menu that proposed projects should conform with, and allocation for the approved projects will now appear in the national budget or the General Appropriations Act as line item, starting in 2014.

Health services, scholarships, and livelihood projects are among projects that may still be allowed.

“As the President said, we cannot ignore the fact that certain districts and sectors have basic needs to which they have to respond. And so he made out the rules on how we can go about it,” Abad said.

Whether the president took this opportunity to control the national budget or not, I believe he succeeded in trying to establish a centralized pork allocation system… in the name of transparency.

If implemented, only time can tell whether his plan is more transparent than the one it replaced or not.

In 2010, Mrs. Arroyo drew flak from both her allies and critics for passing a budget control ban. Before her nine-year term ended, Arroyo limited her successor’s power to impound funds. Her critics said her pork impoundment ban was designed to benefit her and her allies in Congress.

While we welcome the President’s call to “abolish” pork barrel (allegedly), we cannot ignore the possibility that he might use this opportunity to expand his political power by centralizing the budget and put it under presidential control.

As Sen. Joker Arroyo said in 2012:

“Every President seeks to enlarge his powers in the budget. And over the years, every Congress feebly tries to rescind this executive encroachment but the legislature always loses out. For the 2013 budget, the President has more powers than in the 2012 budget. Congress has hopelessly lost its power of the purse.”

Sen Juan Ponce Enrile was somehow on the money when he said: “If it must be scrapped, the pork barrel system should be scraped totally. We should not only look at scrapping the PDAF but include the various ‘pork barrel’ or lump sum appropriations of all departments of government the General Appropriations Act (GAA) as well.” Still, Enrile should be investigated and held accountable for his alleged pork misuse.

Nice political trick, Mr. Aquino.

I told you pork barrel will never be abolished. It will stay with its new name and ‘improved’ allocation system.

JOKER

What really happened in 2012? Click image to enlarge.

Here’s the President’s much applauded speech… 

Taong 1990 nang binuo ang tinatawag na nating PDAF ngayon para sa isang marangal na layunin: Ang bigyang-lakas ang inyong mga Kinatawan sa Kongreso, upang tumukoy ng mga proyektong hindi kayang pondohan ng mga local government units. Wala pong mali o masama sa polisiyang ito.

Ang mali, ang masama, at ang siya ngang ikinagagalit ng taumbayan, ay ang pagsasabwatan sa pagitan ng isang pangulong handang makipagtransaksyon para manatili sa kapangyarihan; mga mambabatas handang makipagkuntsabahan; at kung nariyan ang kooperasyon ng burukrasya; at mga mamamayang tila namanhid na sa panlalapastangang ginagawa sa kanila–kung nagsama-sama po ang mga sangkap na ito, maaaring maabuso ang PDAF.

Kailangan nating maniguradong hindi na maaabuso ang sistema.

Akala po ng iba, pera nila ang PDAF, na puwedeng gastusin kung paano nila gusto. Pero mali po ito: Pera ng bayan ang pinag-uusapan dito, at sa bayan dapat–at hindi sa ilang gahaman lamang– ang pakinabang nito. Nakakagimbal nga po ang mga rebelasyon tulad ng mga nakapaloob sa COA Special Audit Report ukol sa paggamit ng PDAF noong 2007 hanggang 2009, na inilabas nitong nakaraang linggo. Dalawang bagay po ang malinaw na kailangan nating gawin sa panahong ito.

Una, ang panagutin ang mga umabuso sa sistema. Kahapon, iniulat ko sa inyo: Inatasan ko ang DOJ, sampu ng lahat ng ahensya ng ehekutibo sa ilalim ng Inter-Agency Anti-Graft Coordinating Council, o IAAGCC, na mag-ambagan at magtutulungan upang mapabilis ang proseso, mula sa imbestigasyon, hanggang sa pag-usig, hanggang sa pagpapakulong, at pati na ang pagbawi ng ilegal na yaman. Malinaw ang aking direktiba sa lahat ng ahensya at kawani ng gobyerno: Ibigay ang inyong buong tulong at kooperasyon upang mahanap ang katotohanan, at nang mapanagot ang dapat managot.

Buong-buo po ang kumpiyansa ko sa integridad nina Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, Kalihim Leila M. de Lima, at Chairperson Grace Pulido-Tan; alam kong wala silang kikilingan. Kinakatawan nila ang panunumbalik ng tiwala ng publiko sa mga institusyong kanilang pinamumunuan.

Iyan po ang balangkas ng ating unang layunin. Ang ikalawa: maghanap ng mas mainam na paraan upang siguruhing ang pera ng taumbayan ay mapunta sa taumbayan lamang. Lilinawin ko po: Simula pa lamang, pilit na tayong nagpapasok ng reporma upang bawasan ang diskresyon, na siyang ugat ng labis at maling paggamit ng PDAF.

Naniniwala tayo: kung hayag ang proseso, mababawasan din ang pang-aabuso sa sistema. Inatas po nating itala sa Pambansang Budget kung magkano ang PDAF na natatanggap ng bawat mambabatas, at ipinagbawal na rin natin ang congressional insertions.

Partikular na lamang ang menu na puwedeng paglagyan ng PDAF, hindi katulad dati kung kailan inilalagay lamang ito sa kung saan-saan. Hinihingi na rin natin ang mga detalye ng proyekto, di gaya ng nakaraan kung kailan kahit malawak ang depinisyon ay naaaprubahan ito.

Real time na ring ina-upload sa website ng DBM ang listahan ng proyektong napopondohan ng PDAF, kaya’t malaya itong mabusisi ng madla. Pagdating naman sa bidding, lahat ng bid notices at awards ay nakapaskil na rin sa Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System o PhilGEPS.

Naalala ko nga po noong Senador ako. Ang budget, nakalaan para sa January 1 hanggang December 31.

Noong 2007, naaprubahan ito, Abril na. Ibig sabihin, mula Enero hanggang Abril, carry over ang budget mula sa nakaraang taon. Di ba makatuwiran na dahil na-reenact ang budget, tanggalin na rin sa budget ang pondo para sa mga buwan na nakalipas at nagastusan na? Natalo po ang mungkahi ko–kaya bumoto ako ng “No” sa budget ng 2007.

Tinatayang 36 billion pesos ang biglang naging savings noong taong ito. Ang tanong po: Saan naman po kaya napunta itong 36 billion na ito?

Kaya nga po, mula nang maupo tayo, maaga na ring isinusumite at inaaprubahan ang budget, upang hindi na ito paulit-ulit na ma-reenact, na maaari ring magamit bilang instrumento ng pang-aabuso. Sa araw matapos ang SONA, isinusumite na namin ito sa Kongreso; naaaprubahan po nila ito bago matapos ang taon, kaya’t nabawasan na rin ang pagkakataong makakalikot ito at mapagkakitaan.

Sa kabila po ng mga repormang ito, nakita natin sa mga ulat na lumabas nitong mga nakaraang linggo: kailangan pa ng mas malaking pagbabago upang labanan ang mga talagang pursigidong abusuhin ang sistema. Panahon na po upang i-abolish ang PDAF.

Ngayon, bubuo tayo ng bagong mekanismo upang matugunan ang pangangailangan ng inyong mga mamamayan at sektor–sa paraang tapat, gamit ang tama at makatuwirang proseso, at nang may sapat na mga kalasag laban sa pang-aabuso at katiwalian.

Katuwang nina Senate President Frank Drilon at Speaker Sonny Belmonte, sisiguruhin kong bawat mamamayan at sektor ay makakakuha ng patas na bahagi ng pambansang budget para sa serbisyong pangkalusugan, scholarship, proyektong lumilikha ng kabuhayan, at lokal na imprastruktura.

akakapagmungkahi ng proyekto ang inyong mga mambabatas, ngunit kailangan itong idaan sa proseso ng pagbubuo ng budget. Kung maaprubahan, itatalang mga ito bilang mga line item, alinsunod sa mga programa ng Pambansang Pamahalaan. Mapapaloob ito sa batas bilang Pambansang Budget– hihimayin ang bawat linya, bawat piso, bawat proyekto, gaya ng lahat ng iba pang mga programa ng inyong pamahalaan.

Dagdag pa rito, ang mga proyekto, at ang pag-release ng budget para sa mga ito, ay magkakaroon ng mga sumusunod na patakaran laban sa katiwalian:

  1. Itutuloy natin: Kailangang manggaling sa isang limitadong menu ang mga proyektong popondohan.
  2. Ngayon, bawal na ang mga consumable na soft project tulad ng fertilizers, punla, gamot, medical kits, pustiso, paliga, training materials, at iba pang mga bagay na hindi masusuri kung totoo ngang may kinahihinatnan, o kung nagmumulto at pinagkakakitaan lamang.
  3. Ngayon, bawal na rin ang mga panandaliang imprastruktura, tulad ng mga dredging, desilting, regravelling, o asphalt overlay project.
  4. Ngayon, bawal na ring padaanin ang pondo sa mga NGO at piling GOCC tulad ng ZREC at NABCOR. Bubuwagin na po ang mga GOCC na ito at iba pang tulad nila, na paulit-ulit na ginamit sa kuntsabahan, at parang wala namang ibang silbi kundi ang maging instrumento ng katiwalian.
  5. Ngayon, limitado na sa distrito o sektor ng mambabatas na nag-sponsor ang kanyang panukalang proyekto.
  6. Ipagpapatuloy natin ang tapat at bukas na bidding para sa bawat proyekto; kailangang ipaskil sa Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System o PhilGEPS ang lahat ng mga bid notices at awards.
  7. Patuloy din pong masubaybayan ng taumbayan ang implementasyon ng mga proyekto, ihahayag ito nang buo sa website ng DBM at kaukulang ahensya, pati na sa National Data Portal ng gobyerno (www.data.gov.ph).

Inatasan ko na si Secretary Abad ng DBM na kumonsulta kina Speaker Belmonte at Senate President Drilon upang pandayin ang mekanismo, at isumite ito kaagad sa akin. Ilalatag natin ito upang ang mga alokasyon sa bawat distrito ay mapabilang na sa ating Pambansang Budget simula sa panukalang budget ng 2014.

Gagana lamang po ang sistemang ito kung makikiisa at makikilahok kayo. Ihahayag po nang buo ang impormasyon; suyurin at kilitasin po natin ito. Nananawagan akong makiambag at magsikap ang bawat isa, gaya ng pakikiambag at pagsisikap ng inyong gobyerno. Sama-sama nating pagtibayin ang pananagutan at katapatan, upang masigurong ang pera ng bayan ay ginugugol sa paraang makatarungan at tunay ninyong napapakinabangan.

Maraming salamat po, at magandang araw po.

MEANWHILE…

The fight against corruption should not be fueled or motivated by partisan politics. It’s not about B.S. Aquino vs. Gloria Arroyo or administration versus opposition. It’s about good versus evil, truth versus deception, justice versus injustice. Those involved in the pork barrel scam must be revealed, prosecuted and punished.

Source

We all know lawmakers’ DPAF allocations increased during the term of B.S. Aquino. The question is: did the recipients abuse their political privileges?

Leftist party-list PDAF recipients.

RELATED STORY: Inquirer says Arroyo started it all

The Philippine Daily Inquirer in this story insinuated former president and now congresswoman Gloria Macapagal Arroyo used pork barrel to “escape the string of impeachment cases and congressional probes on corruption in her administration”.

Inquirer’s Gil C. Cabacungan cited the special report of the Commission on Audit (COA) on the PDAF releases from 2007 to 2009 that showed Aquino’s predecessor “forked out generous servings of pork barrel funds not only to her allies but also to her foes.”

Cabacungan failed to include the fact that the COA report only covered the fiscal years of 2008, 2008 and 2009 and excluded the years 2010 up to 2012.

Are they trying to make us believe pork barrel misuse and corruption only took place during the term of Arroyo?

Well, the President said in his speech: “Ang mali, ang masama, at ang siya ngang ikinagagalit ng taumbayan, ay ang pagsasabwatan sa pagitan ng isang pangulong handang makipagtransaksyon para manatili sa kapangyarihan…”

He was clearly referring to his predecessor.

Here’s an excerpt of his story:

Arroyo was equally generous to senators who investigated the P728-million fertilizer fund scam and aborted the $329-million National Broadband Network-ZTE Corp. deal.

Senators who received pork barrel funds from 2007 to 2009 were Jinggoy Estrada (P825.15 million), Loi Estrada (P110.8 million) and Juan Ponce Enrile (P904.5 million), all of Partido ng Masang Pilipino (PMP).

From the Liberal Party (LP), the pork recipients were Rodolfo Biazon (P245 million), Francis Pangilinan (P191.05 million), Ralph Recto (P129 million), Ramon Magsaysay Jr. (P22.5 million) and Manuel Roxas II (P5 million).

The Nacionalista Party had Alan Peter Cayetano (P351 million), Manuel Villar (P135.5 million), Pia Cayetano (P123.25 million) and Antonio Trillanes IV (P3 million). Aquilino Pimentel Jr., of PDP-Laban, had a P61.56-million pork fund.

Then Sen. Benigno S. Aquino III was listed as having P40 million in hard projects, but Budget Secretary Florencio Abad Jr. said in a text message that the allocation was never released.

Among the Liberal Party recipients include Rozzano Rufino Biazon of Muntinlupa City (P202.150 million), Niel Tupas Jr. of Iloilo (P178 million), Hermilando I. Mandanas of Batangas (P117.1 million), Sen. Teofisto L. Guingona III of Bukidnon (P66.633 million), Henedenia Abad of Batanes (P2 million), Manuel Mamba of Cagayan (P80 million), Liwayway Vinzons-Chato of Camarines Norte (P140.6 million), among others.

One thought on “Does B.S. Aquino’s PDAF Abolition Mean Centralized, President-Controled Pork Barrel Allocation System?

  1. Pingback: 10 Reasons Pork Barrel Will Never Be Abolished - VINCENTON BLOG

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