NGOs must not get pork barrel funds, senators say




01:21 PM July 26th, 2013

By: Maila Ager, July 26th, 2013 01:21 PM

Senator Francis Escudero. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—At least two senators now want to stop the use of legislators’ “pork barrel for non-government organizations (NGOs) amid allegations they were being used as dummies.

“Whether it’s strict or not, I would like to remove the funding for NGOs and other trainings that can’t be monitored and accounted for,” Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero said in a radio interview on Friday.

Escudero , who now heads the Senate committee on finance, said the lawmakers’ priority development assistance fund (PDAF) known as “pork barrel” should be spent to projects or programs  that would benefit the country, especially the poor.

And to ensure transparency, he said, the PDAF of all members of the House of Representatives and the Senate must be published.

“Put your money where your mouth is. You should be proud of it because you’re able to help your countrymen. We should not it and it’s not a confidential document,” he said.

Senator Ralph Recto, in a separate radio interview, agreed there should be strict monitoring of how the pork barrel is being spent.

“I agree. To be honest, it should not be released to an NGO,” Recto said.

“These foundations, NGOs are advocacy groups. They help on their own in the local communities. But they should not dip their hands on the government funds,” he said.

Recto said most of his pork barrel funds were being used for infrastructures such as roads which would benefit more people.

He said he also used his funds for government hospitals like the Philippine Heart Center, Philippine General Hospital, Kidney Center, regional hospitals and  scholarships.

“I don’t release any fund to NGOs,” Recto said.

Neophyte Senator Grace Poe, in a forum at the Senate Thursday, also saw the need for a more stringent screening of NGOs that would be given funds by lawmakers.

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