Early pork for lawmakers from flooded areas, says Abad

MANILA, Philippines - Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said the department can facilitate the early release of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of lawmakers coming from areas hit by severe flooding.

"Certainly, for areas affected by flooding and need relief and rehabilitation. That should be no problem. They just have to submit request," Abad told Rappler in an SMS message Wednesday, August 8.

Rappler sought Abad's comment following the appeal of House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr for the quick release of lawmakers' pork barrel. ”I am appealing to Malacañang to release the congressional allocations of my colleagues to address the various problems as an offshoot of the widespread flooding that hit Metro Manila and nearby provinces,” Belmonte said.

Monsoon rains that have pounded Manila for more than a week eased slightly overnight, but the government said between 60 and 80% of the megacity remained under water, and the bad weather was likely to persist throughout the day.

The following areas have been placed under state of calamity:

Metro Manila: Malabon City, Muntinlupa City, Valenzuela City, Pasig, Pasay, and Pateros

Central Luzon: Bataan, Pampanga, Zambales, Olongapo City and the province of Bulacan

Calabarzon: Laguna; Cainta, Rizal; San Mateo, Rizal

About 150,000 residents in Luzon and Visayas are staying in various evacuation centers, according to latest statistics from the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

House members are each entitled to a yearly PDAF of P70 million. Out of this amount, P40 million may be allocated for "hard" projects such as repair of roads and bridges. The remaining P30 million may be used for “soft” projects such as financial assistance to constituents. - Rappler.com