MANILA, Aug 23 (Mabuhay) — President Aquino on Friday said it is now time to abolish the priority development assistance funds (PDAF) or the pork barrel system in the aftermath of the alleged P10 billion pork barrel scam.
“Panahon na po para i-abolish ang PDAF,” he said.
He said the Palace will craft a new mechanism to meet the needs of various sectors in a way that is transparent and fair. He said each sector will get a fair share of the national budget for health, scholarships, livelihoods and local infrastructure.
“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,” he said.
He said government funds will no longer be coursed to non-government organizations and government-owned and controlled corporations that were used in the pork barrel scam.
He said funding for consumable “soft” projects such as fertilizer, seeds, medical kits, false teeth and training materials will now be prohibited.
Aquino said the government will strictly enforce public bidding for various projects.
Senate President Franklin Drilon and House Speaker Sonny Belmonte were beside the President when he made the announcement.
The President made the announcement ahead of an anti-pork barrel rally on Monday. The movement, which started on social media, has gotten an overwhelming response from civil society groups.
In the press briefing, Aquino said he wants cases to be filed against officials linked to the P10 billion PDAF scam.
He also said he does not agree with Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile’s proposal to scrap all pork barrel allocations and lump sum allocations, saying some funds cannot be itemized.
“In principle maganda sana yun kaya lang kunwari calamity fund. Paano mo i-a-itemize at the beginning of the year yung paggagastusan ng calamity fund dahil wala pa yung bagyo, wala pa yung lindol, wala pa yung sakuna? Yung contingency fund, kaya nga tinawag na contingency dahil hindi pwedeng i-program yung pangyayari,” he said. (MNS)