Press Release
August 24, 2013

Senate leadership backs PNoy decision to scrap PDAF
Drilon says PDAF abolition will prevent existence
of political debt and patronage

The Senate fully supports the unprecedented decision of President Aquino to abolish the priority development assistance fund (PDAF), a move which Senate President Franklin M. Drilon said will "free the poor Filipinos from the practice of political debt and patronage."

"We laud the President for exercising political will over political patronage in handling the issue of PDAF. It only shows the government's strong resolve in implementing 'tuwid na daan' or straight path and good governance," said Drilon.

The Senate chief, who earlier called for the abolition of the PDAF, said that the decision to do away with the PDAF will not only address the issue on corruption, as it will also put an end to the longtime practice of political debt and patronage, where the poor and the marginalized had become the prey.

"The decision to abolish the PDAF is a step that will free the poor from the shackles of political debt and patronage, which had been the practice of corrupt politicians who would do everything to perpetuate themselves in power," he said.

But what is more laudable, according to Drilon, is the assurance given by the President himself that the public, especially the poor living in the far-flung areas, will not be affected by his decision to abolish the PDAF; and that they will continue to receive the much-needed services such as medical and scholarship assistance, which they used to avail in aid of the PDAF.

"The most important thing is even if we abolished the PDAF, the needs of the constituents of legislators will not be neglected and will still be attended to, by ensuring that the government resources will be given to them to address their needs in a more direct, substantial, and transparent way," emphasized Drilon.

Drilon said he is particularly in favor of putting the desired projects or initiatives of lawmakers in the budget as line items because it creates a system where the public or the lawmakers' constituents will have the chance to scrutinize them and guard their lawmakers' process of identifying their projects.

"It is important that the new process will follow the ordinary budget process, wherein the proposal is submitted, and then the line agency will review whether or not the project should indeed be funded," stressed Drilon. "What is also important is that these initiatives will follow other government regulations such as the projects identified by the lawmakers will undergo the usual government bidding process, thus enhancing transparency."

The Senate President also favors the exclusion of consumable projects - such as agricultural inputs, training materials, livelihood projects - as well as temporary infrastructures - such as dredging, desilting, asphalt overlaying - from among the projects that lawmakers can propose to be funded.

"These consumable soft projects and temporary infrastructure are susceptible to leakages and abuse like overpricing or ghost or incomplete deliveries like what happened in the previous administration who disbursed P750 million in six months for dredging rivers all over the country," said Drilon.

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