Tuesday, August 20, 2013
MANILA-Majority bloc senators will adopt a resolution expressing the sense of the Senate to cease from availing, accessing and utilizing their pork barrel funds until and unless stricter guidelines on the release of such funds are adopted.
The resolution, proposed by Senate President Franklin M. Drilon, is a collective decision of the senators in the majority coalition to cease from utilizing their respective priority development assistance fund (PDAF) allotments until such time that more effective and strict implementing PDAF guidelines are put in place by the executive branch. It will be filed in the Senate’s next session, he said.
“The majority senators’ decision to adopt the resolution is a manifestation of their interest in making the use of the PDAF more transparent and open for scrutiny of the public that will help prevent the abuses and inadequacies which were observed in the Commission on Audit report,” Drilon explained. “It is consistent with the expressed desire of senators to effect reforms in the use of the pork barrel funds in order to prevent the preponderance of abuses and malpractices in the use of the PDAF.”
Drilon said the majority senators agreed to let the Department of Budget and Management promulgate stricter and more effective implementing guidelines on the release of the PDAF and the determination of qualified projects under the PDAF menu as defined in the General Appropriations Act.
“In view of the findings made by the Commission on Audit in its special audit report of the PDAF releases from 2007 to 2009, there exists an urgent and unmistakable need to institute reforms to improve the PDAF system as well as provide appropriate safeguards and effective controls over the release of these public funds with the utmost transparency and accountability,” said Drilon.
“The government must institute stricter guidelines on the utilization of the PDAF to avoid exposing substantial government funds to untoward risks and ensure that the PDAF is disburse only in favor of specific and effective pro-poor programs of the government,” he added.
Drilon cited some findings of the Commission on Audit in its special audit report, which he said needed to be addressed immediately by the Executive Branch through the DBM. Among these are 1) inadequacies in the monitoring of the releases of PDAF for priority projects identified by legislators; 2) lack of periodic assessment of the projects included in the PDAF menu; and 3) inadequacies in the release of the PDAF for projects without completed documentation and/or outside the aforementioned menu.
Earlier, Drilon called for the abolition of the PDAF and expressed support to a proposal of Sen. Miriam Santiago to gradually decrease allocation for PDAF. He suggested limiting the use of the PDAF to medical assistance to be coursed through directly to government and district hospitals, and to school building program.
MANILA-Senator Loren Legarda today renewed her call for the implementation of laws and programs that will help ease flooding in the country following the disaster brought by Typhoon Maring and the monsoon rains in the metropolis and nearby regions.
Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committees on Environment and Climate Change, said that first and foremost, local government units (LGUs) should comply with the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act (Republic Act 9003) and also start clearing waterways in their areas.
Heavy and continuous rainfall since Sunday has caused massive flooding in the National Capital Region and in neighboring provinces in Luzon and prompted the government to suspend classes and work in affected areas.
“With climate change in our midst, more frequent typhoons are the new norm. But why do our flooding woes seem to worsen every time? A main reason is the non-compliance with our environmental laws. Only about one-third of all LGUs nationwide are complying with the solid waste management law, while the others have yet to strictly and fully implement segregation of garbage at source, recycling and composting,” said Legarda, principal author of RA 9003.
The Senator also said that LGUs should complement the national government’s campaign to address flooding problems through the clearing of waterways, noting that the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) is carrying out a program to relocate illegal settlers and clear waterways in Metro Manila within 12 months.
“What our LGUs and concerned government agencies must do is to strictly implement the solid waste management law; demolish illegal fish pens in Laguna de bay; undertake massive cleanup of esteros and canals; relocate settlers by the rivers; dredge rivers and other waterways and heavily penalize those who throw waste in rivers and lakes; and enforce an absolute ‘no tree cutting’ policy in the Sierra Madre and other protected areas,” she stressed.
“Disaster risk reduction is everybody’s business, and LGUs should lead this effort by ensuring that homes, schools, hospitals, and buildings are constructed in safe areas and are secure amidst natural hazards, and that roads, bridges and other infrastructure are designed and constructed with economic growth and disaster risk reduction in mind,” she added.
Legarda also said that the government should assess the structural integrity of all dams in the country and retrofit those which need to be fixed.
“With or without these heavy rains and disasters, we have incessantly urged and reminded our LGUs and our citizens to work on preventing and mitigating disasters, such as floods, and not merely respond to their onslaught. We must learn from our experiences, practice enhanced disaster preparedness and response, and be proactive in reducing the risk of disasters,” said Legarda.
Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this blog do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of "THE CATHOLIC MEDIA NETWORK NEWS ONLINE".