Don’t trim ‘pork’ – solon

PNS — A MILITANT lawmaker yesterday said slashing the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel will not solve corruption in the government.

Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello urged the allies of President Benigno Aquino III to study the proposal thoroughly as this will affect the delivery of needed services to the people especially the poor.

According to Bello, the important issues behind pork barrel are identifying what services and projects would best benefit constituents and what mechanisms can be implemented to curb the corruption that comes with the disbursement of funds.

Bello explained that the way PDAF is distributed, a legislator has full authority over which projects to undertake, and how the projects should be implemented.

“There is regulatory failure — the disbursement of PDAF lacks a mechanism that makes transactions transparent and officials accountable for their actions,” Bello said.

“Arbitrarily reducing the amount of pork barrel is not a solution to the problem of corruption,” he added.

Meanwhile, he is proposing an institutionalization of an anti-corruption mechanism that includes a full accounting of the ear-marked funds and an assessment of the quality of the projects that are undertaken.

Such endeavor necessitates the participation of members and officers of the local communities.

“Funds should be reallocated to improvement of delivery and reach of basic social services program as the previous administration has left a whopping social services deficit to the people” he also said.

The solon also proposed to include broadening of PhilHealth coverage and bigger budget for education in the reform package.

“Funds disbursed by the government must always prioritize the social welfare of the Filipino people, and must be accompanied by a checks and balances mechanism that would crack down on corruption,” Bello said.