Quantcast

Makabayan bloc files bill seeking to scrap pork barrel

By

ACT Teachers Representative Antonio Tinio. Photo from congress.gov.ph

MANILA, Philippines — Despite knowing that it will be an unpopular measure, the Makabayan bloc on Wednesday filed a bill seeking to abolish pork barrel funds.

House Bill 1535 or An Act Abolishing the “Pork Barrel” System by Prohibiting the Allocation and Use of Funds for such Purpose” sought to get rid of pork barrel funds, which the bloc saw as “a massive source of graft and corruption.”

ACT Teachers Representative Antonio Tinio said the measure will most likely be met by strong opposition but said they would urge fellow lawmakers to support HB 1535.

“This is where public opinion comes in. We need to hear many sectors and groups taking a stand for the abolition of pork and the dismantling of patronage politics – the religious, academe, professional organizations, workers, farmers. They can exert the pressure that could turn the tide in Congress,” he said.

The Makabayan bloc is composed of five partylist groups in the House of Representatives. Seven lawmakers make up its group in the 16th Congress.

The priority development assistance fund (PDAF) otherwise known as pork barrel has been under intense scrutiny as the Inquirer ran reports on an alleged decade-long abuse of the funds worth P10 billion, involving 28 lawmakers and bogus nongovernment organizations.

Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Zarate knew the measure would face tough adversaries but said they would ask fellow House members for support.

“We will discuss this with our House colleagues and convince them that pork abolition will eventually be for the best interest of our people, especially the poor majority,” he said.

Zarate said they would first talk to “like-minded colleagues.”

Cagayan de Oro Representative Rufus Rodriguez has earlier called on the House of Representatives to look into the scam as it questioned the integrity of the PDAF.

But many House members felt that abolishing the pork barrel would not rid the government of corruption and would be detrimental to useful projects.

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. has earlier maintained that congressmen needed their pork barrel to assist their constituents.

This was also what Ifugao Representative Teddy Baguilat Jr. felt.

“This is not to imply that the Makabayan’s position has bad intentions. It’s just untenable given local political dynamics where many district congressmen are judged by their constituency on the pet projects and direct services they give to their constituencies,” he told INQUIRER.net.

He earlier described the pork barrel to be an “equalizer” for districts that lack funding for certain services.

Baguilat said that scholarships, medical assistance, small infrastructure like day care centers or water systems were among lawmakers’ projects which were “largely funded by PDAF.”

“What’s perhaps more realistic is to institute more safeguards to ensure that the funds are not malversed. Enforcement of DBM (Department of Budget and Management) regulations is the key,” he said.

Belmonte said that the DBM reduced the PDAF menu “a couple of times during the 15th Congress. It is quite strict now.”

Baguilat echoed this and said that the DBM had earlier reminded House members “that funds can’t be coursed through foundations and NGOs.”

“That’s why the PDAF is channeled to line agencies and LGUs (local government units) who have accounting procedures and COA oversight,” said the Ifugao lawmaker.

He said he was puzzled that there was a “breakdown” of the said system with other House members since all of them knew “this was prohibited under this administration.”

“If it occurred during the GMA (Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo) era, then that was the protocol before but as far as I know, this was prohibited under this administration,” said Baguilat.

Despite being against the scrapping of lawmakers’ pork barrel funds, Belmonte said that they still “have to continue measures that avoid abuse or fraud.”

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

Copyright © 2014,

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate: c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94



News

  • Nebraska toddler gets stuck inside claw machine
  • Philippine eagle rescued by Army turned over to DENR
  • Gunmen attack Iraq military base, kill 10 soldiers
  • South Korea president shouted down by distraught parents
  • Classmates celebrating 60th birthday among missing in ferry sinking
  • Sports

  • Power Pinays smash India in Asian Women’s Club volleyball opener
  • PH youth boxers off to stumbling start in AIBA World tilt
  • Durant has 42, Thunder beat Pistons 112-111
  • Walker leads Bobcats over Bulls in OT, 91-86
  • Man City slips further out of title contention
  • Lifestyle

  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Moist, extra-tender blueberry muffins
  • Entertainment

  • Jones, Godard, Cronenberg in competition at Cannes
  • Will Arnett files for divorce from Amy Poehler
  • American rapper cuts own penis, jumps off building
  • Jay Z to bring Made in America music fest to LA
  • Why Lucky has not bought an engagement ring for Angel
  • Business

  • ‘Chinese Twitter’ firm Weibo to go public in US
  • World stocks subdued, Nikkei flat on profit taking
  • Asia stocks fail to match Wall Street gains
  • Fired Yahoo exec gets $58M for 15 months of work
  • PH presses bid to keep rice import controls
  • Technology

  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Filipinos #PrayForSouthKorea
  • Taylor Swift tries video blogging, crashes into fan’s bridal shower
  • DOF: Tagaytay, QC best at handling funds
  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • DFA: 2 Filipinos survive Korean ferry disaster
  • PH asks airline passengers to check for MERS
  • Syria most dangerous country for journalists, PH 3rd—watchdog
  • Japan says visa-free entry still a plan
  • First Fil-Am elected to Sierra Madre, Calif. city council
  • PHOTOS AND VIDEOS

    • 9 confirmed dead after ferry sinks off South Korean coast

      Read More

    • DOH issues official statement on confirmed case of MERS-CoV

      Read More

    • [VIDEO] Bomb hoax in Boston

      Read More

    • [VIDEO] Royal couple’s final day

      Read More

    • 292 missing, 3 dead in South Korea ferry disaster

      Read More

    • Police killed, wife hurt in Mandaluyong ambush

      Read More

    • Police say 5 dead in Calgary stabbings

      Read More

    • Pakistan brothers in cannibalism case face court

      Read More

    • DOTC apologizes for Naia’s air con problem

      Read More

    • Australian state leader quits over $2,800 wine

      Read More

    • Supremacist faces murder charges in Kansas deaths

      Read More

    • Solemn tributes mark Boston Marathon bombing anniversary

      Read More

    • Preparedness, CCT program help young mom survive ‘Yolanda’

      Read More

    • Two-year-old among five dead in Camarines Sur road mishap

      Read More

    • Moro basic law priority

      Read More