MANILA, (PNA) – “Reveal how you spent public funds,” said Sen. Francis Escudero Wednesday, who called on fellow senators to make their pork barrel open to public scrutiny.
Escudero said the disbursement and use of the pork barrel by legislators should be open to public scrutiny to ensure transparency and accountability.
“Whether it’s PDAF, pork barrel or DAP (Disbursement Acceleration Program) is immaterial,” Escudero said, in a statement.
“The important issues here are transparency and accountability.”
“At the end of the day, as public officials entrusted with public funds, we should be able to explain to the public how these were disbursed and used,” he added.
Since Escudero started availing of the special budget for legislators’ pet projects in 2010, he has posted on his website (www.chizescudero.com) the detailed allocation of his pork barrel to local government units (LGUs) across the country.
“All releases and disbursements to LGUs which had sought my assistance were transparent and verifiable. These can be scrutinized by COA (Commission on Audit) and the public anytime,” Escudero said.
He also clarified the “confusion” surrounding the P96 million (not P99 million as earlier reported) he had requested the Dept. of Budget and Management.
This was used to download to local LGUs to finance their requests for repairs of specialty hospitals and construction of public markets in the cities and municipalities of Batangas, Laguna, Quezon, Cavite, Rizal, Ilocos Norte and Pangasinan, among others.
A total of P500,000 was received by majority of the LGUs for the construction and rehabilitation of their public markets, Escudero said.
He also said that since he started using his PDAF in 2010, he had only funded infrastructure projects and medical assistance through various LGUs, as well as improvement of regional and specialty hospitals.