MANILA (Mabuhay) — Amid public clamor, President Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday said he will be showing how the President’s Social Fund (PSF) has been spent during his term.
“I-authorize natin, papalabas ko sa PMS, saan ba ginastos over the three years that I have served as President at kung gaano kalaki na yung pondo dahil nga napakamasinop, napakamaingat nating gastusin yan,” Aquino told reporters at the 8th East Asia Conference on Competition Law and Policy at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza on Wednesday.
The Presidential Management Staff (PMS) manages and administers the PSF, which is spent on the special financial assistance for military and police combat casualties and victims of calamities and disasters, among others.
It is considered a special fund but is off-budget since it is not funded by the General Appropriations Act or by Internal Revenue collections.
According to the COA report for 2011, the PSF’s Land Bank account received at least P3.4 billion from PAGCOR.
By the end of 2012, it contained at least P5.4 billion.
Aquino, however, said he does not understand why some are calling for the abolition of the PSF.
“Napansin ba ninyong walang nagsasabi na may misuse itong President’s Social Fund? Pero pinapatanggal. Hindi mo maintindihan anong logic nun,” he said.
On the other hand, Aquino said he is “open” to itemizing some of the Special Purpose Funds (SPF), other lump sum funds included in the annual budget.
“Open naman, ano. Open tayo,” he said in response to calls to either abolish or itemize discretionary funds similar to the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) received by lawmakers annually.
He explained that when his administration first submitted the budget, they were told that it was too itemized.
“Nabasa ko sa mga ilang diyaryo na masyado nga raw ina-itemize iyong mga …performance na gusto nating makita. For instance, gaano kadaming reports ang i-ge-generate ng NICA amongst other things,” he said.
But now, he said they are being told it was not itemized enough.
“So kayo na ang humusga kung ano ho ba talaga ang sinasabi,” he said.
The PDAF is under the SPF, which are lump sum funds managed by the Office of the President. In the 2013 budget, there is at least P957.77 billion allocated for the SPF.
Among them are:
Budgetary Support to Government Corporations (P71.40 billion)
Allocations to Local Government Units (P319.84 billion)
Calamity Fund (P7.5 billion)
Contingent Fund (P1 billion)
Department of Education – School Building Program (P1 billion)
International Commitments Fund (P2.64 billion)
Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund (P69.09 billion)
Pension and Gratuity Fund (P98.72 billion)
Priority Development Assistance Fund (P24.79 billion)
Tax Expenditures Fund (P26.9 billion)
Debt Service Fund – Interest Payment (P333.90 billion)
Aside from this, he said he is also open to itemizing the Malampaya Funds.
“Napakita kung saan ginugugol to at nakalagay doon sa batas na nag-au-authorize na gamitin yan e dapat sa energy or energy-related,” he said.
However, although Aquino said he is open to itemizing some of these funds, he said there are exceptions like the Calamity Fund.
“Ang tanong paano mo i-itemize iyong Calamity Fund bago dumating iyong calamity? Meron ka dapat talagang standby na pondo diyan pangtugon doon sa pagdating ng sakuna na hindi naman natin siyempre mapredict,” he said. (MNS)