Drilon tells DBM: Make sure no ‘pork’ in 2015 budget
Senate President Franklin Drilon on Friday prompted the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to ensure that no pork barrel fund allocations would be incorporated in the proposed 2015 national budget.
Drilon said the Senate, which chose to abolish the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) after several of its members were implicated in the pork barrel fund controversy implicating several of its members, will exercise stringent measures to ensure the pork barrel system isn’t revived in next year’s financial plan.
The Senate chief made the call while the Executive department is currently drafting the proposed 2015 General Appropriations Act (GAA), which would be the basis for Congress to deliberate and approve this year.
“The Senate will exercise the strictest examination of the 2015 national budget to make certain that no revival of the PDAF in any form or calling will occur,” said Drilon.
Budget Secretary Florencio Abad had said his department will submit its P2.606-trillion general appropriation bill to Congress after President Benigno Aquino III delivers his State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 28.
Next year’s budget is 15 percent higher than this year’s approved budget which is P2.264-trillion. A total of P3.2-billion, which comprises Vice President Jejomar Binay and 15 senators’ pork barrel funds, was deleted from the original proposed 2014 budget.
Drilon suggested that funding allocated for PDAF in previous years be directly channeled to agencies which are considered the country’s instruments for social services such as “massive backing for public hospitals, free public education in higher levels, poverty alleviation program, and assistance to the agricultural sector.”
As former chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Drilon said the PDAF should be avoided altogether in this year’s national budget as it has been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 2013.
“The Supreme Court ruling is clear about when congressional involvement with the budget should end,” he said.
“Therefore anything related to the PDAF in the 2015 national budget should be avoided,” he said.
He also urged the public to actively participate in guarding the budgetary process to ensure that the PDAF and its exploitable shortcomings won’t find its way back to the national budget.
“To our people, especially to our youth, take a look, probe and examine piece by piece the laws our lawmakers craft for this country especially the national budget,” he said.
“Please help us monitor and make sure that every peso in the 2015 GAA will be spent for the betterment of our nation,” he added.