By Azer N. Parrocha
MANILA, (PNA) — Three senators have filed bills to abolish the pork barrel.
Senators Alan Cayetano, Francis ‘Chiz’ Escudero earlier filed separate bills, and on Thursday, Sen. Teofisto Guingona III jumped on the bandwagon.
Guingona’s version of the bill seeks to institutionalize bottom-up budgeting (BUB) for greater transparency, accountability, and openness in the budget preparation process.
BUB is an approach in formulating budget proposals of agencies taking into consideration the development needs of municipalities and cities.
“The public funds should finance the needs of the people. Allocation and spending of the people’s money should not be in the discretion of the public officials alone,” Guingona said.
He explained that the Filipino people must be consulted in the budget preparation process, since the allocation of funds to various projects has a direct effect on their lives.
“While reforms to limit discretion in the use of public funds have been pursued by the government in recent years, much is left to be done,” he said, stressing that measures are needed to be in place against those who choose to abuse the system.
“We start with the abolition of the PDAF or the pork barrel -and allocate the amount intended for it to the different national government agencies,” he added.
Under the Bottom Up Budgeting Act of 2013 (SBN 1524) , pork barrel is abolished and its subsequent forms in the General Appropriations Act.
This move is to limit the discretion of legislators in the use of public funds following the latest report of the Commission on Audit on the misuse and corruption of the government’s coffers, Guingona said.
“The abolition of the PDAF and the institutionalization of BUB are two big steps that we can take to operationalize the Aquino administration’s slogan: Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap,” he added.