NEWS: Zero ‘pork barrel’ for DavNor BMs for 2009

sept 23

The Davao del Norte Sangguniang Panlalawigan approved yesterday the province’s Annual Investment Plan (AIP) for 2009 without an item Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) which has been looked up as the pork barrel fund of provincial boardmembers just like the first year in the administration of Governor Rodolfo del Rosario.

Boardmember Roger Israel, despite moving for the approval of the AIP yesterday, ostensibly expressed drawn-out regret for the absence of PDAF for boardmembers and vice governor and prayed that they still be given for it next year from other sources and re-aligned items of the chief executive.

Sources said that Gov. del Rosario when he won for his present term had stopped the practice of giving PDAF amounting to P500,000 per year to boardmembers as what had happened during the time of his predecessor Gov. Gelacio Gementiza.

But Boardmember Jose Recarido Federiso, an advocate of participatory governance, on the other hand, reminded anew his colleagues to put the AIP to proper consultations with the people starting at the grassroots level, the barangays and puroks “so the people could express their sentiments” on government plans.

The AIP, which is a compendium of identified projects, was just submitted last week to the SP after a joint meeting with relevant committees and department heads.

A government project could not be funded and implemented without being listed in the AIP otherwise it is illegal under the law.

On the other hand, sources said that the Compostela Valley provincial boardmembers had accordingly concurred with the move of Gov. Arturo “Chiongkee” Uy of not giving them PDAF since the first year so that their PDAFs could instead be funded for high-impact infrastructure projects like the school buildings and roads.

During the time of former Gov. Jose “Joecab” Caballero, the Davao del Norte’s PDAF came in the budgetary item, financial assistance to the SP. It was popularly dubbed as Rural Development Fund (RDF) which mimicked the congressman’s Countryside Development Fund (CDF) or later the PDAF.

During Caballero’s last term, each boardmember and the vice governor shared P1 million and P2 million yearly direct allocations, respectively, with each half of it treated as grants and donations in accounts in the legislative department. It was directly disbursed passing only the vice governor’s approval.

Later the Commission on Audit disallowed the RDF directly disbursed without the governor’s approval which ended one boardmember to the Ombudsman for allegedly giving it to fictitious dead and sick constituents.

The former governor justified that he was giving RDF as show of magnanimity and understanding to fellow incumbent politicians who had been faced with a lot of solicitations and requests from constituents using thousands of reasons ranging from cradle to grave. (Cha Monforte/Rural Urban News)

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