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Aquino urged to abolish all lump sum funds, not just pork

/ 03:57 PM August 23, 2013

Philippine President Benigno Aquino III. FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – A civil society group on Friday called on President Benigno Aquino III to once and for all abolish all lump sum funds and not just the so-called “pork barrel.”

The Centerlaw and Concerned Citizens Movement, in a statement to media, expressed concern that Aquino’s announcement on the abolition of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) is just for show and “only a change of name.”

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“PDAF used to be known as the CDF or the Countryside Development Fund. It was named PDAF after investigative journalists exposed the CDF as pork barrel. It may be that this alleged abolition of PDAF is yet to be another renaming,” the group said.

CCM said the new scheme still allows legislators to identify projects.

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“This may mean that legislator’s discretion on project identification and implementation may remain,” said the statement sent by lawyer Harry Roque Jr.

The civil society group shares the same observation with activists who said the proposal was “double speak” and a case “of the same dog with a different collar.”

On Friday afternoon, the President said it was time to abolish the PDAF. However, he also said, “Your legislators can identify and suggest projects for your districts, but these will have to go through the budgetary process.”

The CCM said other discretionary and lump sum funds must be abolished, adding that the Malampaya gas fund must be spent pursuant to the Local Government Code while the judiciary development fund must be bared to the public.

Nevertheless, the group said Aquino’s announcement was proof that “no government can ignore public opinion.”

The group called on the public to join the “Million People March to Luneta” on Monday.

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TAGS: Benigno Aquino III, Centerlaw and Concerned Citizens Movement, Manila, PDAF, Philippines, Pork barrel, Priority Development Assistance Fund, protest
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