Press Release
August 20, 2013

Majority senators to adopt resolution not to avail of
PDAF until stricter measures are adopted

Majority bloc senators will adopt a resolution expressing the sense of the Senate to cease from availing, accessing and utilizing their pork barrel funds until and unless stricter guidelines on the release of such funds are adopted.

The resolution, proposed by Senate President Franklin M. Drilon, is a collective decision of the senators in the majority coalition to cease from utilizing their respective priority development assistance fund (PDAF) allotments until such time that more effective and strict implementing PDAF guidelines are put in place by the executive branch. It will be filed in the Senate's next session, he said.

"The majority senators' decision to adopt the resolution is a manifestation of their interest in making the use of the PDAF more transparent and open for scrutiny of the public that will help prevent the abuses and inadequacies which were observed in the Commission on Audit report," Drilon explained. "It is consistent with the expressed desire of senators to effect reforms in the use of the pork barrel funds in order to prevent the preponderance of abuses and malpractices in the use of the PDAF."

Drilon said the majority senators agreed to let the Department of Budget and Management promulgate stricter and more effective implementing guidelines on the release of the PDAF and the determination of qualified projects under the PDAF menu as defined in the General Appropriations Act.

"In view of the findings made by the Commission on Audit in its special audit report of the PDAF releases from 2007 to 2009, there exists an urgent and unmistakable need to institute reforms to improve the PDAF system as well as provide appropriate safeguards and effective controls over the release of these public funds with the utmost transparency and accountability," said Drilon. "The government must institute stricter guidelines on the utilization of the PDAF to avoid exposing substantial government funds to untoward risks and ensure that the PDAF is disburse only in favor of specific and effective pro-poor programs of the government," he added.

Drilon cited some findings of the Commission on Audit in its special audit report, which he said needed to be addressed immediately by the Executive Branch through the DBM. Among these are 1) inadequacies in the monitoring of the releases of PDAF for priority projects identified by legislators; 2) lack of periodic assessment of the projects included in the PDAF menu; and 3) inadequacies in the release of the PDAF for projects without completed documentation and/or outside the aforementioned menu.

Earlier, Drilon called for the abolition of the PDAF and expressed support to a proposal of Sen. Miriam Santiago to gradually decrease allocation for PDAF. He suggested limiting the use of the PDAF to medical assistance to be coursed through directly to government and district hospitals, and to school building program.

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