Wednesday, August 6, 2014
MANILA-It must be underscored and emphasized that Sen. Jinggoy Estrada has no hand in the implementation of the projects funded under the PDAF. His only involvement in the process is to identify projects for funding from his PDAF allocation.
We wish to reiterate that the implementing agencies and only the implementing agencies have the power to choose specific NGO to carry out the projects. The endorsements of certain NGOs were recommendatory at best with the ultimate choice of NGOs left to the implementing agency in accordance to laws and regulations.
It is unfortunate that several media entities unfairly attributed the failure of the IAs to strictly implement and/or monitor the implementation of projects funded by the PDAF to Sen. Estrada.
Moreover, assuming that there were bogus and non-existent beneficiaries, it must be noted that it was Benhur Luy who fabricated the said documents and invented the said names. It was also Benhur Luy’s name that appears in the documents which state that it was Luy who received the funds as President of the non-government organization in question. These disclosures came up during the cross-examination of Atty. Vic Escalante.
It is also worth noting that Atty. Escalante was unequivocal in his admission that he has no personal knowledge concerning the alleged delivery to and alleged receipt of Sen. Estrada of money/kickbacks/commissions/rebates from his PDAF – which forms the core of the plunder complaint against Sen. Estrada.
Further, he (Atty. Escalante) testified before the court that he has no personal knowledge on the issuance of SAROs and notices of cash allocation relating to the PDAF allocation of Sen. Estrada, and on the disbursement and utilization of said funds. Hence, his testimony can be considered as merely hearsay.
MANILA-If the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is to deliver on its promises of improved traffic flow, less flooding and fewer vehicular accidents in 2015, the agency must be given adequate funding, said Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph G. Recto today.
If the MMDA is to be believed, average vehicular traffic speed on major roads in the metropolis will increase to 32.8 kilometers per hour (kph) this year, from the original target of 29 kph.
And for next year, traffic flow will further improve to almost 33 kph.
These and other promises are attached to the agency’s request for a P1.988 billion operating budget for 2015, Recto revealed today.
But Recto said MMDA may have a hard time delivering on its promises, which includes floodwater subsiding at a quicker rate, if its budget for next year is P323 million lower than its present.
“I think (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino, who probably occupies the toughest job in the country, is doing a great job, despite the big problems he has to solve, with the limited powers he has. He must be given ample resources to do his job,” Recto said, in batting for a “status quo” in the MMDA budget.
For 2015, the MMDA is eyeing a 3% decrease in traffic-related accidents.
It is also targeting a 15-minute response time to 93% of traffic accident and obstruction reports, up from its 90% goal this year, Recto said.
On flood control, the MMDA’s “promissory note” for 2015 focuses on a “10% reduction of flooded areas, from 4,570 hectares to 4,105 hectares for rainfall of less than 40 millimeters per hour,” Recto said.
On waste disposal, the senator said the MMDA has set a fighting target of a 5% yearly reduction rate on trash generated with a recycling rate of 50% from 38% this year.
The metropolis of more than 15 million generates 41,862 cubic meters of garbage a day.
Recto said MMDA’s budget is only a fraction of the combined budgets of the 16 cities and 1 municipality comprising it, “yet much is expected of it.”
“It doesn’t control the mass transport system, it doesn’t run the trains, it doesn’t construct the roads and the flyovers, it doesn’t control the police, it doesn’t register the cars, but it is getting a disproportionate share of the blame,” he said.
“Yet the gung-ho Tolentino is soldiering on. Despite the limitations imposed on him, he tries to solve the problems with the little tools he has,” Recto said.
The MMDA's budget is booked in the national budget as Allocations to Local Government.
On top of what it will receive from the national government, the MMDA is authorized to use collections from fines, fees and charges it may impose, as well as mandatory remittances by its member LGUs, Recto said.
As part of the innovations introduced in the 2014 national budget, the MMDA has identified key result areas which will serve as performance indicators.
These "major final outcomes" are grouped into three : Solid Waste Disposal and Management Services, Traffic Management Services and Flood Control and Sewerage Management Services.
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