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

  • What Went Before: Worst election-related violence in PH history
  • Gov’t urged to protect massacre witnesses
  • ‘We could’ve been killed together’
  • Workers call P13 wage hike measly
  • Survivors on island still homeless
  • Sports

  • Roach on Algieri’s chance vs Pacquiao: 0
  • Road Warriors tear winless Elite apart
  • Bigger Algieri plans to retire Pacquiao: ‘Manny is gonna sleep’
  • All 4 PH muay fighters reach medal round
  • Archers down Lions; Tams rip Chiefs
  • Lifestyle

  • Ballet Philippines’ ‘Blue Moon Series,’ Tanghalang Pilipino’s ‘Pahimakas sa Isang Ahente’ lead Philstage Gawad Buhay!’s 2014 3rd-quarter citations
  • The state-of-the-art The Theatre at Solaire wants to be ‘a second CCP’
  • Cebu Pacific Air to launch flights to KidZania Manila
  • THANKSGIVING AT DISCOVERY SUITES
  • Malaysia Year of Festivals 2015 goes to Centro Escolar University
  • Entertainment

  • ‘Mockingjay’ sells the sizzle, not the steak
  • The best is yet to come for Mitch Valdes
  • Essential truths
  • Julianne Moore on Jennifer Lawrence, Kristen Stewart
  • Better service
  • Business

  • BSP: Favorable sentiment may bolster economy’s performance
  • PH seen posting balance of payments deficit
  • Share prices inch up
  • PH medium firms said to struggle with high tax rates
  • Slower economic growth projected for July to Sept.
  • Technology

  • Legislator seeks probe into Uber
  • Japan biotech for surrogate sushi
  • Win a car, other prizes for Christmas; join PDI promo
  • World’s biggest solar-powered mall in PH
  • Viber’s new feature gives users ‘fly-on-the-wall’ feel
  • Opinion

  • Editorial Cartoon, November 22, 2014
  • Climate hope
  • Why wheels of justice grind ever so slowly
  • Growing danger of conflict?
  • Lawyers rise, Asean economic integration is here
  • Global Nation

  • Fil-Am groups back Obama’s sweeping immigration reform
  • Palace denies blacklisting of HK journalists
  • Palace on ISIS fighter: Filipino? Or just Filipino-looking Asian?
  • PH gov’t eyes improved ranking in Global Terrorism Index
  • Study: Terrorism-related deaths in PH more than doubled in 2013
  • PHOTOS AND VIDEOS

    • WHO confirms DR Congo Ebola-free status

      Read More

    • Indian lawmaker arrested in financial scam

      Read More

    • AFP sees better ranking in Global Terrorism Index

      Read More

    • How your 13th month pay is computed

      Read More

    • 6.9-magnitude quake jolts Indonesia

      Read More

    • QC road reblocking resumes Nov. 21-24

      Read More

    • ‘Mercado not fleeing Senate probe’

      Read More

    • Thai junta chief disregards ‘Hunger Games’ salutes, signs of defiance

      Read More

    • This time, it’s Pia Cayetano slamming NAIA

      Read More

    • Mercado’s US trip suspicious–UNA

      Read More

    • Japan ‘black widow’ still on hunt as husband No.4 died—reports

      Read More

    • Bohol mayor still grumbles over slow gov’t response a year after killer quake

      Read More

    • Dog reunites with owner a year after ‘Yolanda’

      Read More

    • Graft arraignment of Binay wife deferred

      Read More

    • Tears, anger pour for slain Miss Honduras, sister

      Read More