Santiago bill to give aid directly to poor

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Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago has filed a bill that would address the concerns of senators and congressmen over not being able to provide medical assistance to their constituents once they lose their pork barrel.

Santiago has filed Senate Bill No. 1445 providing for the distribution to indigents of free essential medicines through barangay health centers.

In a statement, Santiago said the practice of senators and congressmen giving medical assistance to indigents through their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) “just facilitates corruption and creates a culture of mendicancy among our people.”

“This is the solution to the so-called problem of senators and congressmen who say they are worried they can’t help their constituents anymore if we take away their pork barrel,” she said.

“Let’s just distribute free essential medicines directly to the people through barangay health centers.”

The bill seeks to give the secretary of health the discretion to determine the kind of medicines that would be included in the free medicine program.

Santiago was among the first to call for the abolition of the P25-billion pork barrel after it was found that most of the funds were funneled to fake nongovernment organizations and converted to cash for lawmakers and their cohorts.

Santiago filed a resolution for the three-year phaseout of the PDAF but most of the senators favored removing the allocation from the 2014 national budget.  Norman Bordadora

 

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