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14 senators formalize PDAF deletion in 2014 budget

FOURTEEN senators, so far, have formalized their position to deduct their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allotment in the proposed 2014 budget without realignment.

Those who have submitted their written position to the Senate Committee on Finance on the deduction of their PDAF in the 2014 budget proposal are Senators Juan Edgardo Angara, Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, Nancy Binay, Teofisto Guingona III, Gregorio Honasan II, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Grace Poe, Sergio Osmeña III, Aquilino Pimentel III, Vicente Sotto III and Cynthia Villar.

Sen. Francis Escudero, chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, had earlier formally notified the committee that he would forgo his PDAF allocation and asked that the amount be deducted from the P2.268-trillion budget.

Senate President Franklin Drilon had earlier filed the resolution expressing the sense of the Senate to delete its entire PDAF allotment in the 2014 budget proposal.

Sen. Loren Legarda said in a text message that she had expressed the same position in a letter to “a long time ago,” a copy of which was furnished to Escudero.

In his letter to Escudero, Angara said he wants his PDAF allotment deducted from the proposed 2014 budget but hoped that the P200 million that will be saved from the move “can be used to increase the education budget in the 2014 general appropriations bill.”

Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano proposed that the entire P4.8-billion PDAF of the Senate in the proposed 2014 budget be used to augment the Calamity Fund for that year, particularly for relief and rehabilitation efforts in calamity-devastated areas.

Cayetano said that while lawmakers have the “moral duty” to abolish the pork-barrel system which “has failed to meet our people’s urgent development needs,” they “must also have the moral courage” to use taxpayers’ money for vital programs.

Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito has waived his 2014 PDAF in favor of victims of Typhoon Santi in Central Luzon, Supertyphoon Yolanda in the Visayas and the 7.2-magnitude earthquake in Bohol and Cebu.

In her letter to Escudero, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago said, “I am opposed to any pork barrel in any manner, shape, form, or under any name.”

Santiago proposed the appropriation of the entire P25-billion PDAF of Congress to the Calamity Fund, which would increase it to P32.5 billion in 2014 from the original proposal of P7.5 billion.

Senators who have not submitted their formal position to the Senate Committee on Finance as of press time are Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile, Senators Pia Cayetano, Jinggoy Estrada, Lito Lapid and Ramon Revilla Jr.

For senators who would not submit their formal position, their P200-million PDAF would be realigned as prescribed in the House version of the proposed 2014 budget act or P50 million each for the Commission on Higher Education, Departments of Health, of Labor and Employment and of Social Welfare and Development.

 

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