Latest Stories

Aquino not letting go of Palace pork in budget


President Benigno Aquino III is not about to let go of the other lump sum appropriations in the national budget.

Although he now favors the scrapping of the congressional pork barrel, or the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), Mr. Aquino disputed Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile’s position that all the other lump sum appropriations of government agencies and offices should also be abolished.

In a press conference on Friday, Enrile called not just for the scrapping of the PDAF but also of all lump sum appropriations of all government agencies.

“If it must be scrapped, the pork barrel system should be scrapped totally. We should not only look at scrapping the PDAF but include the various ‘pork barrel’ or lump sum appropriations of all departments of government in the General Appropriations Act as well,” Enrile said.

What about intel funds?

The proposed P2.268-trillion General Appropriations Act (GAA) for 2014 contains a provision of P7.5 billion as calamity fund and another P1 billion as contingency fund, whose disbursement is according to the discretion of the President.

However, both Mr. Aquino and Enrile were silent on the fate of intelligence funds, which are allotted even to agencies and offices outside of the law enforcement and security apparatus of the government, such as the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.

In his own press conference in which he announced the abolition of the pork barrel, Mr. Aquino said that while he viewed Enrile’s idea as “good in principle” he said the government had to be prepared for expenditures that cannot be covered in the national budget.

Subjecting all government expenditures to line-item budgeting would be ideal, he said, but the reality on the ground compelled government to prepare for contingencies.

“How can you itemize at the beginning of the year the expenses to be funded by the calamity fund when a storm has yet to hit (the country)?” he said.

This would also be the case when it comes to government’s response to and rehabilitation efforts for communities devastated by earthquakes and other calamities, the President said.

Mr. Aquino explained further that the contingency fund, as the name implies, is used for expenses that could not be programmed into the national budget, or the GAA, such as the hiring of new teachers and state employees.

“So by their very nature, there are certain funds that can’t be itemized. But, to a large degree, we really want the budget to be transparent and easy to understand, so that when people check these specific projects, they will know where every peso coming from the National Treasury was spent,” Mr. Aquino said.

He said he could be guilty of malversation of public funds if, for example, Congress were to earmark funds for response and rehabilitation of areas to be hit only by 20 typhoons and then the country was hit by more than 20 typhoons.

Budget Secretary Florencio Abad also defended the retention of the calamity fund and contingency fund in the proposed budget for next year whose disbursement is subject to the discretion of the President.

“The calamity fund is dictated by a calamity that happens. The contingency is also dependent on the contingency being addressed (for instance, the evacuation of Filipinos in Syria or Egypt),” said Abad in a text message.

He said the Commission on Audit would do “post-audits” of the funds.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Benigno Aquino III , Calamity Fund , General Appropriations Act , PDAF , Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. , Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office , Pork barrel , pork barrel scam , Priority Development Assistance Fund

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  2. Chinese lawyers say they were tortured by police
  3. Hair salon’s Kim Jong Un poster riles embassy
  4. Siquijor ‘healer’: For every cure, there’s a plant
  5. State seeks guilty verdict for Abalos
  6. Why college grads end up in the PNP
  7. Estrada: I will pray for my detractors
  8. Miraculous image makes Gapan City top site for pilgrimage in Central Luzon
  9. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  10. Five men from Cavite found dead in jeep in Batangas
  1. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  2. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  3. Netizens cry: 6/55 Lotto was rigged
  4. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  5. ‘Wife of Jesus’ theory papyrus not fake – Harvard study
  6. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  7. Gay college instructor arrested for oral sex with student
  8. ‘King’ Yabut and I: Driver bares Makati dad ‘abuses’
  9. It was difficult having Japanese blood
  10. Palace: We can’t blame increase in population on Vitangcol
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Pork payoffs to newscasters Erwin Tulfo, Del Prado, others bared
  4. UP back on top as ‘average’ student aces bar
  5. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  6. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  7. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  8. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  9. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  10. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’


  • After quake, makeshift churches welcome pilgrims in Bohol
  • UN warns banana fungus spreading from Southeast Asia
  • Massive infra spending set
  • ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  • Cardinal Tagle to faithful: Join politics to clean it
  • Sports

  • Federer would skip tennis to be with wife, newborn
  • Manny Pacquiao in PBA? If so, he’ll wear No. 17
  • PSC sets Blu Girls US training
  • Power Pinoys settle for 7th place
  • Successful coaches to get raise
  • Lifestyle

  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Moist, extra-tender blueberry muffins
  • The truffled mac ‘n’ cheese, eggs benedict, chicken leg confit are excellent
  • Entertainment

  • Why Lucky has not bought an engagement ring for Angel
  • Derek more private with new girlfriend
  • ‘Community’ star happy with return of show’s creator
  • Jealousy is kid stuff
  • Mommy-daughter adventure continues
  • Business

  • PH presses bid to keep rice import controls
  • PSEi continues to gain
  • Number of retrenched workers rose by 42% in ’13
  • PH seen to sustain rise in FDIs
  • Gov’t subsidies to state firms fell in first 2 months
  • Technology

  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Tech company: Change passwords or suffer ‘Heartbleed’
  • Filling the digital talent gap
  • SSS to shut down website for Holy Week
  • Another reason to quit social media this Holy Week: your safety
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • First Fil-Am elected to Sierra Madre, Calif. city council
  • UC Irvine cultural night to dramatize clash of values in immigrant family
  • Filipino sweets and info served at UC Berkeley Spring Fest
  • Milpitas, California kids wrap up a successful run of ‘The Wiz’
  • Netizens welcome Japan’s visa-free travel plan
  • Marketplace