Measures must be put in place to regulate lawmakers' use of their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), said Budget Secretary Florencio Abad
His statement came in the midst of allegations that P10 billion of pork barrel from some senators and congressmen was lost in ghost projects.
PDAF, also known as the pork barrel fund, is lump-sum appropriation in the annual General Appropriations Act to fund the development programs and projects based on the discretion of lawmakers.
“What we need to do is really tighten the regulation over its use,” said Abad in an interview with ANC.
He added, he cannot say he is in favor of scrapping the pork barrel because “it’s been helpful to quite a number of provinces.”
Abad said in the proposed P2.3 trillion national budget for 2014, the projects under PDAF are clearly identified to prevent irregularities.
“Before, the PDAF was not seen in the budget. It was tucked in the budgets of agencies
so that its very hard to look for it. So what the President decided to do was really to put it in the budget. I think that's the first reform that President Aquino insisted that we should do so that people are able to better monitor the use of the PDAF. So there is now an item in the budget called PDAF and then there is the allocation,” Abad explained.
The public can monitor the progress of projects that are funded by lawmakers' pork barrel at the budget department's website, he added.
“We also now, in real time, check our website. Show you, show the public, the releases including the SARO number of PDAF to legislators.”
A senator has P200 million PDAF per year while a congressman has an average of P70 million.
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is probing the alleged P10 billion pork barrel scam.
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