MANILA – Senate President Franklin Drilon on Friday assured the Senate will make sure that the 2015 national budget currently being drafted by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) will be free of “pork” or anything that resembles the then Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
Drilon gave this assurance as he also called on the Executive department through DBM to ensure the non-inclusion of pork barrel in the next’s year budget.
“The Senate will exercise the strictest examination of the 2015 national budget to make certain that no revival of the PDAF in any form or calling will occur,” said Drilon.
He suggested that funding allocated for PDAF in previous years should be directly channeled for the country’s instruments for social services such as massive backing for public hospitals, free public education in higher levels, poverty alleviation program, and assistance to the agricultural sector.
The 2015 national expenditure program being drafted by the DBM is nearing completion. The draft will be the basis of the national budget to be approved by Congress.
Drilon, former chairman of the Senate committee on finance, said the PDAF, declared as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in late 2013, should be avoided altogether in this year’s national budget.
“The Supreme Court ruling is clear about when congressional involvement with the budget should end. Therefore anything related to the PDAF in the 2015 national budget should be avoided,” he said.
In 2013, the Senate abolished their PDAF months before the SC declared its unconstitutionality.
Drilon also invited the public to be “active watchers” of the national budgeting process.
“To our people, especially to our youth, take a look, probe and examine piece by piece the laws our lawmakers craft for this country especially the national budget. Please help us monitor and make sure that every peso in the 2015 GAA will be spent for the betterment of our nation,” he said.
The DBM is expected to submit the proposed 2015 national budget in Congress in August as the 16th Congress resumes on July 28.