President Benigno Aquino III has issued a statement today expressing his support for the abolition of the pork barrel.
The Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or popularly called pork barrel has been the center of controversy involving billions of Pesos lost to corruption. On its revelation, numerous groups called for the abolition of PDAF.
In his statement, Aquino expressed that the PDAF is prone to abuse as a tool of trading favors and a channel for corruption. He also expressed that despite the numerous reforms on governance, a greater change is necessary to fight the abuses on the system.
Aquino said, “Panahon na po upang i-abolish ang PDAF.” (It is time to abolish PDAF.)
Aquino made the statement in Malacañang Palace with Senate President Franklin Drilon and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., the leaders of two houses of Philippine Congress. He proposed the creation of new system to replace PDAF but will still fund priority development projects with reduced risks of corruption.
Aquino said, “Bubuo tayo ng bagong mekanismo upang matugunan ang pangangailangan ng inyong mga mamamayan at sektor—sa paraang tapat, gamit ang tama at makatuwirang proseso, at nang may sapat na mga kalasag laban sa pang-aabuso at katiwalian.” (We will create a new mechanism to address the needs of your constituents and sectors, in a manner that is transparent, methodical, and rational, and not susceptible to abuse or corruption.)
Aquino then tasked Budget Secretary Florencio Abad to coordinate with Drilon and Belmonte to craft mechanisms to safeguard public funds from corruption.
Aquino also calls on every Filipino to do their part in strengthening accountability and transparency in government to ensure public funds to truly benefit the people.
The statement came days before a major rally is set in Luneta by concerned citizens calling for the abolition of PDAF.