IN light of recent reports regarding the P10-billion pork barrel scam, Anakpawis partylist Rep. Fernando Hicap strongly supported calls for the total abolition of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel of all members of the Lower House and Senate.
Hicap also demanded the abolition of the President’s discretionary fund or the ‘executive pork barrel’ which is also a major source of corruption. For 2013, the funds at the disposal of the President include the following: Calamity fund (P7.5 billion), Contingent fund (P1 billion), E-Government Fund (P1-billion), Support for Infrastructure Projects and Social Programs (P23 billion) and Intelligence funds (P2 billion).
Every fiscal year, each member of the House of Representatives is entitled to P70 million PDAF while each Senator is entitled to P200 million funds for soft programs and infrastructure projects. For 2013, the total amount of PDAF accessible to all lawmakers is P24.790 billion.
“Since time immemorial, the pork barrel has been a source of corruption and a funding mechanism for patronage politics from the national to local level. To give justice to all Filipino taxpayers, the pork servings of all lawmakers must be stopped and the pork barrel fund must be totally abolished,” Hicap said.
“Instead of allotting billions for the pork barrel of Senators and Congressmen, the national government must increase the annual budget for social services including budget for education, mass housing and public health care to give immediate and necessary frontline services and social benefits for the people,” said neophyte Rep. Fernando Hicap of Anakpawis Partylist.
“Transparency will not solve this P10-billion pork barrel ‘scam of the century.’ The pork and its perks must be abolished. All those who masterminded and benefited from this large-scale racketeering must be punished and held accountable for plunder,” the solon added.
According to reports, in the past decade, some P10-billion PDAF funds were allegedly squandered to fake NGOs. Some P900 million from the Malampaya fund went to so-called agricultural packages for various farmers’ NGOs which turned out to be dummy organizations created and operated by Janet Lim Napoles.
“Most of the squandered public funds went to so-called livelihood projects for farmers and the agriculture sector. We abhor this high-level, syndicated corruption. Poor farmers are in dire need of support services. It is unacceptable that their legitimate demands and interests are being used for corruption,” the Anakpawis solon said.
Hicap said a full blown investigation on the pork barrel scam must be carried out to scrutinize the extent of misuse of public funds. “All those involved in this multibillion scam must face administrative and criminal sanctions.”