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PIA Press Release
2006/11/29

Commentary: Pork barrel for Congress and President's discretionary funds - The two do not meet

By Aurora Casimpan

Tacloban City (29 November) -- The senators had called for the abolition of the pork barrel in exchange for the willingness of the President to forego the discretionary fund at her disposal. The challenge was made over differences on pork barrel allocations.

During the weekend, Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya, Jr. stated that Malacaņang has the discretion in the selection of senators and members of the House on fund releases for the pork. The statement prompted the senators to issue challenge of abolition of the pork barrel and the President's discretionary funds.

Such provoking statement makes one think on the parallel objective of the two funds.

Are the senators that obtuse in the use of the President's fund or were they making light of their frustrations over the non-release of their funds? The senators are in the best position to know how the President's fund is used.

The Congressional fund does not have the urgency of its use unlike that of the President's find. Upon assumption of office, the President has a line-up of programs which need execution soonest considering its pro-poor stance. Congressional funds are simply that funds. Its use is dependent on the project of a legislator which may even have duplication.

Crippling the Chief Executive's discretionary funds prejudices the security of the public and so must not be done.

The country has seen its share of calamities and disasters both man-made and natural. It is during such times that the President's fund is the most available. If funding of such kind is abolished, can the state cope at its soonest if no such fund exist? How will the programs and projects for the poor be found since Congressional funds are not usually aligned for spending with the President's programs?

Congress must come to terms on the issue of pork barrel but must lease the President's fund alone to function as planned. (PIA 8) [top]

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