Press Release
August 28, 2013


Following the President's move to implement a new system in the allocation of the priority development assistance fund (PDAF), Senator Juan Edgardo "Sonny" Angara proposed that half of the funds should go to projects that would improve Philippine education system.

Angara filed Tuesday Senate Resolution No. 202 mandating the appropriation of half of the senators' PDAF, which amounts to P2.4 billion a year, to public schools and state universities and colleges for scholarships, classrooms, computers, teaching training and other activities.

"Instead of subjecting taxpayers' money to corruption and grave abuse, we should instead utilize these funds in significant economic and social services. Education is one of the sectors of greatest need in our society," the neophyte senator said.

Under the new mechanism introduced by President Aquino, legislators' proposed projects will be included in the preparation of the National Budget as specific line-item budgets, in place of the lump-sum PDAF.

The proposed projects must follow a menu that is leaner and stricter than the old PDAF menu. Health services, scholarships, and livelihood projects are among the projects that may still be allowed.

"The Filipino people have clamored for the PDAF's abolition in order to stem the corruption and stop the misdirection and misuse. These funds, if channeled to the sector of society of greatest need, and subjected to strict check-and-balance parameters, can indeed do a world of good in improving public and social services in the country," he said.

Angara lamented that the Philippines only spends 2.8 percent of its gross domestic product on education, way below the UNICEF standard of six percent.

He further cited a study by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) which revealed that student financial assistance programs have catered only around 60,000 college students or two percent of approximately 2.7 million college students in 2011.

The report from CHED also showed that only 34 percent of public higher education institutions have adequate facilities.

"These deficiencies can be addressed with proper and directed funding mechanisms. The pork barrel, when spent on the educational needs of our constituents, can produce significant improvements in both access to and quality of education," Angara said.

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