MANILA, Philippines – Did you know that you can check how your legislators used their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) from 2009 to present through the Department of Budget and Management’s website?
House Deputy Minority leader Arnel Ty on Sunday called on the public to make the most out of this feature in light of the pork barrel scandal.
“Actually, the particulars of all congressional PDAF releases have been available online for all to see since 2009,” said Ty, who represents the LPG Marketers’ Association (LPG-MA).
The website lists details of PDAF releases from each congressman and senators, such as the nature of the project, recipient, implementing unit and amount.
This year, DBM records show that members of Congress have so far received a total of P11.584 billion in PDAF releases.
A recent Commission on Audit report found lawmakers allocated at least P6.1 billion worth of funds from 2007 to 2009 to dubious nongovernment organizations. Among the major findings of the COA report were as follows:
- 74 lawmakers exceeded their allocations
- 8 congressmen had their PDAF released for projects outside their legislative districts
- 1 congressman received P3 billion, or an average of P1 billion a year, within the audited period (This turned out to be a mistake and was a clerical error on the part of the Budget department; the allocation was for the Public Works department and not for then Compostela Valley Rep Manuel ‘Way Kurat’ Zamora as reported)
- A certain Luis Abalos, who is not a congressman, received PDAF of P20 million (This also turned out to be wrong as the first name was not Luis but rather Benhur, former congressman of Mandaluyong and now mayor)
- An NGO submitted as beneficiaries names taken from board and bar passers
- 6 of the NGOs shared the same incorporators and officers, including relatives of congressmen from whom they received PDAF releases
On Friday, August 23, President Benigno Aquino III announced the government is overhauling the pork barrel system, days before a scheduled rally to scrap PDAF. Under the new scheme, lawmakers will be required to include projects to be funded as line items in the annual budget. – Rappler.com