Ex-treasurer scores P282.2-billion
presidential ‘pork’ for ‘Yolanda’
By Estrella Torres / Business Mirror 25 March 2014
Former National Treasurer and Social Watch Philippines Convenor Prof. Leonor Magtolis-Briones questioned the P282.5-billion “presidential pork,” which is way higher than the P33-billion rehabilitation funds for Yolanda victims.
She said a huge portion of the P2.264-trillion national budget for 2014 included the Special Purpose Funds (SPF) worth P282.5 billion, or the “lump-sum appropriations.”
She said these funds replaced the controversial P25.6-billion pork-barrel funds that were realigned in key line agencies.
Briones said it is not surprising that these funds are now the so-called presidential pork, since the disbursements will only be upon approval of President Aquino.
“These are funds for which there is no available detail, unlike the budgets of agencies and departments. These can only be released with the approval of the President,” Briones said.
A huge part of the President’s discretionary funds include budgetary support to government corporations worth P46 billion, she said.
The SPF also include P19.5 billion for local government units and Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund of P53.5 billion, which is utilized for salary increases.
The largest part of the President’s discretionary funds is P120.4 billion for pension and gratuity.
Briones lamented that the victims of calamities, including the more than 4 million people affected by Supertyphoon Yolanda, will make do with the P33-billion fund from the 2014 national budget.
The funds for their rehabilitation will come from the P13-billion allocation for the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Fund.
The national government allocated P20 billion for its rehabilitation and reconstruction program.
Briones said the biggest question is that those funds will all be subject to the President’s approval.