MANILA, Philippines – Senate President Franklin M. Drilon asserted on Tuesday to scrap the Priority Development Fund (PDAF), also known as pork barrel, before the proposed 2014 budget reaches the Senate.
Drilon said that every senator can make a plan if they will allow PDAF to be scrapped from the 2014 outgoing plans if the Senate will not be able to agree on passing a resolution in abolishing it, even without the ruling of the Supreme Court.
“The alternative is for the senators who are allocated P200 million could manifest that he will amend the budget to delete P200M, so that the budget is reduced by P200 million. If 24 senators agrees, that’s P4.8 billion; therefore, the budget will be reduced by that amount,” Drilon said.
Out of 24 current senators, 16 expressed supports to abolish pork barrel.
Scrapping PDAF by means of a resolution is the only one option Drilon has. This approach will only delete the pork barrel funds in the budget for the next year but not for the following years.
Both President Benigno Aquino III and Drilon can eliminate the PDAF item in the planned national budget when Drilon submits it to congress annually.
The president can use the authority of line-item veto if the congress passes the PDAf in the national budget.
The P25-billion PDAF in the proposed national budget next year has been lined-up by the House of Representatives.
The said fund will be given to six departments and agencies such as the Departments of Public Works and Highways (DPWH); Social Welfare and Development (DSWD); Health (DoH); Education (DepEd); Labor and Employment (DoLE); and the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd).
The DoH, DepEd and DoLE will receive P2.5 billion each, DSWD with P5.1 billion, CHEd with P1.25 billion while the rest will be allocated for DPWH projects.
Araceli A. Reas
ABCom, Leyte Normal University