Sunday, September 18, 2011

Drilon calls for investigation over P7.5-B Arroyo farm to market funds

MANILA, September 19, 2011-Senator Franklin Drilon, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee bats for the Senate investigation of the P7.5 billion farm-to-market roads fund released by the Arroyo administration last May 2010 elections even without actual programs of work.

“Before former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo stepped down from office, the funds were released by the Department of Agriculture from January to June last year,” Drilon said.

Drilon revealed that they are now gathering prima facie evidence about the probe funds where these farm-to-market roads were released before the change of the administration adding that a similar scheme such as the P729.48 million in fertilizer funds which were diverted for the 2004 presidential campaign of GMA who is now a Pampanga representative.

Drilon said that the actual releases of the P7.5 billion fund were done in just six months and that’s the reason why the senator questioned how the department of agriculture then headed by former Secretary Arthur Yap was able to disburse such amount.

“The former officials in the Department of Agriculture are rather efficient in utilization of funds,” Drilon said, who also chair the Senate Oversight Committee on Public Expenditures, which came through with the alleged irregularity in the project.

“We are determining if the funds went to ‘farm-to-pocket roads’, ‘roads to my farm’ or nothing has happened at all,” Drilon said.

Drilon said that they are currently looking about the liability of officials involved and do not want to come to any early conclusion, saying that they are on the process of verifying pertinent documents related to the project as to where the projects are located. (Jason de Asis)

Jinggoy sought support of civil service eligibility upon councilors

MANILA, September 19, 2011-Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada sought the support of his fellow lawmakers in the Upper Chamber to approve Senate Bill 2946 which confers civil service eligibility upon members of municipal and city councilors and provincial board members.

Estrada sponsored a bill which will grant civil service eligibility to all Sangguniang Bayan, Sangguniang Panlungsod and Sangguniang Panlalawigan in due recognition to their invaluable services in their respective areas of governance.

Estrada cited that the Local Government Code of 1991 actually grants appropriate civil service eligibility on the basis of the number of years of service to the Punong Barangay, Sangguniang Baranggay and other barangay officers, pursuant to the rules and regulations of the Civil Service Commission stated in his bill.

“It is but fitting that elected members of the Sangguniang Bayan, Panlungsod and Panlalawigan, who are carrying out broader and extensive duties and responsibilities be granted the same eligibility privilege,” Jinggoy, once a local chief executive of San Juan City, reasoned.

Committee Report 55 of the Committees on Civil Service and Government Reorganization and Local Government grant Career Service Sub-Professional Eligibility to council members who have served for an aggregate period of six (6) years, and Professional Eligibility to those who have served for an aggregate period of nine (9) years; provided that they meet the educational requirement of completion of at least 72 units of any baccalaureate program, and finishing a bachelor’s degree, respectively.

The Philippine Councilors League composed of more than 16,000 city and municipal councilors nationwide through its National President Councilor Ronald Carcellar (Poro, Cebu) had earlier expressed full support of this measure.

The bill covers all members of the Sangguniang Bayan, Sangguniang Panlungsod and Sangguniang Panlalawigan who have been elected after the effectivity of the Local Government Code of 1991 once it is enacted into law. (Jason de Asis)


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