Palace assures fair PDAF access for both allies, non-allies

April 10, 2010 10:31 pm 

By Catherine J. Teves

MANILA, April 10 — Malacanang has denied speculations its allies in Congress have the edge over non-allies in accessing priority development assistance funds (PDAFs).

Deputy presidential spokesperson Charito Planas clarified that both Malacanang's allies and non-allies are given top preference for receiving PDAFs by government if it deems as priorities projects they intend to finance using such funds.

"It's untrue non-allies get the least priority for PDAF releases," Planas stressed.

She said the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) reviews projects proposed for PDAFs to determine which of these need priority funding.

Such priority projects are those that DBM considers as having the most impact on improving people's lives.

Planas clarified the matter as speculations surfaced the administration arranged releasing PDAFs for its allies in Congress to further strengthen their electoral bid.

She said government must prioritize projects for PDAF financing since it does not have all required funds for these.

Government must still generate part of needed revenues for the projects even if Congress has set a budget for such undertakings already, she noted.

"If a project is in the first priority list, it's given PDAF funding," she said.

Earlier, Planas said there was no truth to allegations PDAF releases were intended to help better advance the 2010 election bid of the administration and its allies.

"Such releases aren't based on political affiliation," she said.

To help further rationalize PDAF disbursements, lawyer and administration candidate Raul Lambino vowed to push for reviewing Presidential Decree No. 1177, or the Budget Reform Decree of 1977, if he is elected to the Senate in the May 10 polls.

P.D. 1177 was issued in July 1977 by then President Ferdinand Marcos.

"After approving the budget, Congress has almost no say on how public money is spent," Lambino noted.

He said this happens as P.D. 1177 gives the executive branch "almost entire power" over use of available public funds. (PNA) scs/CJT/jsd

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