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Monday, July 12, 2010

Pork will not be eliminated, but allocations Published

Here is today news on the PORK-main source of corruption in the Philippines. It is written by Aurea Calica for the Philippine Star and dated July 13, 2010.

"MANILA, Philippines - The Aquino administration will continue to provide lawmakers with Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel funds, but how the allocations are utilized will be meticulously recorded and published, according to Budget Secretary Florencio Abad".

“We will release the names of those who received pork barrel,” Abad said, adding President Aquino had spoken with allies in Congress regarding the matter, including the Liberal Party’s bet for House speaker, Quezon City Rep. Feliciano Belmonte Jr.

Abad said the disbursement of the funds would have to be disclosed to the public, including details like the amount of cement, steel or other materials used for infrastructure projects.

“We have to know where they are putting the money and if the projects were worth the declared expenses,” Abad said.

He recalled that the President, in his inaugural address, had promised to make contractors accountable for the integrity of their projects.

“If there is irresponsibility, the contractor will not be paid in full,” Abad said.

House members get P70 million each in PDAF while senators are entitled to P200 million each.

Mr. Aquino had said in his first press conference that his administration would not cut or remove pork barrel, but that its release would be limited.

“Spending will be constricted into items that can be visible and demonstrable as having adhered to the principle of judicious use of public funds,” Mr. Aquino said.

“In the briefing prior to my assumption to office, my economic and finance teams were telling me that the amount of releases are already above 60 percent. Significantly above 60 percent,” he said, adding that calamity funds supposedly for release this year had already been allocated in advance.

He said the government would have to find a system that would not deprive congressmen of their budget entitlements while ensuring that funds allocated to them were spent judiciously.

“Before we spend, we have to check our obligations and how much more money we have left and how we should spend our remaining funds,” he said.

If this is followed, it may be one way of reducing corruption in the use of these funds by our representatives and senators. God Luck P-Noy!

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