Latest Stories

Malacañang: President’s Social Fund not pork


For the nth time, Malacañang on Tuesday told its critics to stop treating the Presidential Social Fund (PSF), which is considered as one of the funds lumped together under the Special Purpose Fund (SPF), as President Aquino’s pork barrel.

The PSF cannot be scrapped because it is not part of the annual national budget but is mainly funded by revenues from state-owned Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor), said deputy Malacañang spokesperson Abigail Valte.

The other lump sum funds under the SPF are the calamity fund, the contingency fund, and miscellaneous personnel benefits fund.

“(These are) not pork barrel. The pork barrel is the layman’s term for what you refer to as the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF),” Valte said.

The amount that goes into the PSF varies because, unlike other programs in the executive’s budget, it is not sourced from revenues of the Bureau of Internal Revenue or the Bureau of Customs, Valte explained at a briefing in the Palace.

Trust fund

“It’s essentially a trust fund. We don’t propose an amount for the Presidential Social Fund every year. That fund is supported and replenished by a percentage of the profits from Pagcor and … a small percentage from PCSO (Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office),” said Valte.

As of December 2012, funds from Pagcor alone amounted to P5.256 billion. The Commission on Audit (COA) describes these as PSF’s “net income share from Pagcor.” If the amount is not fully consumed within the year, it is rolled over to the next year.

“So this is a continuing (fund). It’s really a trust fund,” Valte said, stressing that the Aquino administration had been judiciously using PSF.

“We have a clear idea of where it should go, and every year it’s being audited (by) COA. Just to give you a general idea of how the audit process goes—at least from the point of view of an agency or a particular department—all the receipts, supporting documents for liquidation, vouchers, disbursement requests are submitted to COA. Then COA will look into how (PSF) is being spent, and if it’s being booked properly,” she said.

‘Unforeseen events’

“At the end of the calendar year, the observations are all summarized in the annual audit report, or the AAR, that COA posts and uploads as soon as they finished it. So we invite everybody to look at these COA reports to familiarize yourselves with its contents. And additionally, if you go to the website of the Department of Budget and Management, it’s all there (in) what you call Statement of Allocations, Obligations and Balances,” she said.

The DBM postings are updated every quarter, she said.

Former National Treasurer Leonor Briones has claimed that the PDAF is part of the P310-billion SPF of the President, but Valte disagreed, saying that the SPF “are funds, by their nature, that can’t be itemized” in the budget because they are being used for “unforeseen events.”

“So, by the very nature of some of these funds, it is obviously something to draw (from) in times of need,” Valte said. “And also, if I can point out, these funds are audited (by) the Commission on Audit. You know, to call it completely discretionary is a little bit too general because special purpose funds have specific uses,” she added.

Aquino himself said on Friday, when he announced the scrapping of PDAF, that the executive still needed lump sum funds to prepare for contingencies as a result of storms, earthquakes and other natural disasters.

Contigency funds

“I, in principle, view this as a good idea,” Aquino said. Citing the utilization of the calamity fund, however, he quickly asked: “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)?”

This is also the case when it comes to government’s response to and rehabilitation efforts for communities devastated by quakes and other calamities, he said.

Aquino explained further that the contingency fund—as the name implies—is used for expenses that could not be programmed in the General Appropriations Act 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 for these specific projects, they will know) where every peso coming from the national treasury was spent,” said Mr. Aquino, referring to “roads, bridges, schools, etc.”

General label

As explained by Budget Secretary Florencio Abad on Saturday, the PSF is “an off-budget item,” Valte said.

“Meaning, the funds (are) not from the tax collections … but from (other sources) because of certain laws, or a PD (Presidential Decree) … that created Pagcor,” she said. “It’s a general label for these (special purpose) funds,” she said.

The miscellaneous personnel benefits fund, for its part, goes to retirement benefits and gratuities of retiring state workers because the government cannot predict the number of personnel who are going to retire the succeeding year.

The law allows early retirement or mandatory retirement, thus government “can’t exactly program that year-per-year,” she said.

This fund also bankrolls the expenses of newly created offices or units under a government agency.

Originally posted: 9:13 pm | Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

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: Abigail Valte , Benigno Aquino III , Calamity Fund , contingency fund , executive department , government funds , lump sum appropriations , Malacañang , National Budget , Office of the President , Pagcor , PDAF , Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. , Philippine Government , Philippine president , Pork barrel , pork barrel scam , Presidential Social Fund , President’s Social Fund , Priority Development Assistance Fund , special purpose funds , State budget , trust 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. US teacher fired over comment on black president
  2. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  3. Filipinos, Dane re-enact crucifixion of Christ
  4. Magnitude-7.5 earthquake shakes Mexican capital
  5. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  6. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  7. Massive infra spending set
  8. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  9. Easter crucifixions draw huge crowds
  10. Korea ferry captain arrested, divers spot bodies
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  5. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  6. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  7. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  8. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  9. Massive infra spending set
  10. OFW brings MERS virus to Philippines
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  5. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  6. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  7. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  8. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  9. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  10. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia


  • Russia promises support to ending Ukraine crisis
  • Busted valve delays water interruption
  • Cardinal Tagle decries human ‘commercialization’
  • Religion builds bridges in ethnically split Cyprus
  • Iran general urges Tehran to make new UN pick
  • Sports

  • Vettel hoping for resurgence at Chinese GP
  • MLB pitcher donates $100,000 for Sewol ferry victims
  • Hamilton takes pole at Chinese Grand Prix
  • Duke’s Rodney Hood joining Jabari Parker in NBA draft
  • Phelps entered in 3 events at comeback meet
  • Lifestyle

  • Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • Entertainment

  • Myx TV premieres Asian American ‘docu-series’
  • A nutty finale for ‘Scandal,’ TV’s craziest show
  • EXO postpones release of mini album ‘Overdose’
  • ‘X-men’ filmmaker slams ‘fabricated’ sex attack claims
  • Singer Chris Brown’s bodyguard on trial in DC
  • Business

  • Fiat-Chrysler to produce iconic Jeep in China from 2015
  • US commerce secretary spells out economic facet of ‘pivot to Asia’
  • Italy sells luxury state cars on eBay
  • Asian shares mostly up in quiet trade
  • Dollar up in Asia on US jobs data, Ukraine deal
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • 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

  • DOH to continue tracking co-passengers of OFW infected with MERS virus
  • 5 Filipinos with MERS in UAE reported in stable condition
  • PH boosts MERS monitoring after UAE nurse scare
  • Canadians back PH plea to take back waste
  • We treasure our Sierra Madre
  • Marketplace