Tuesday, November 19, 2013
MANILA-In light of the Supreme Court’s latest ruling on the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), Senate President Franklin M. Drilon said today the Senate is considering a possible supplemental budget for 2013, providing funds for relief operations and rehabilitation of areas affected by disastrous events that hit several regions in the country.
The funds will be derived from the unspent PDAF of senators and congressmen for 2013 amounting P14.5 billion which effectively will become savings as a result of the ruling that PDAF is unconstitutional.
““We urge the President to certify the supplemental budget as urgent, as the funds can be promptly used by the necessary agencies for the relief and rehabilitation of areas struck by these recent disasters, particularly the typhoons Yolanda, Santi, Labuyo, the siege of Zamboanga City and the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in the Visayas.”
The Senate chief said he welcomes the high court’s decision, but emphasized that “insofar as the Senate is concerned, the Supreme Court’s decision is already moot and academic” because the senators had already made several actions geared towards the abolition of the PDAF as part of the national budget.
“We welcome the decision of the Supreme Court declaring the Priority Development Assistance Fund unconstitutional. We will abide by its decision. I believe its decision reinforces the government’s efforts to reform the country’s political system and likewise affirms the Senate’s position that PDAF must be abolished,” Drilon said.
The Senate passed a resolution waving their use of the remaining PDAF for 2013. In addition, a majority of the senators have already decided to fully delete the PDAF in the 2014 budget, which in effect will lower the country’s budget deficit pegged at P266.2 billion, noted Drilon.
Drilon expressed optimism that positive changes are indeed ongoing: “Everybody is stepping in the right direction, as the abolition of PDAF system should be the start of more reforms aimed at curbing corruption and misuse of taxpayers’ money.”
“With the abolition of PDAF, we will also dismantle the system of political patronage that has stunted socio-economic development and allowed a few to maintain their political dominance in certain areas,” he added.
Lastly, Drilon gave assurance that the Senate will see to it that henceforth, all officials will adhere to laws and rules and regulations governing the use of public funds.
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