Former Sen. Ramon Magsaysay Jr. today suggested that members of Congress publicly post the disbursement of their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel to promote transparency and discourage corruption in government expenditure.
Magsaysay recalled that during the term of the late Senate President Marcelo Fernan, senators were asked to make public how their ‘pork barrel’ funds were allocated.
“During Senate President Celing Fernan’s time, we were asked to post where we allocated our funds. I have posted mine every end of the year. On my last year I posted everything, like it’s a summary,” said Magsaysay, who is the son of the late President Ramon Magsaysay.
He said public disclosure would deter the fabrication of allocations and plug leakages in expenditures.
He stressed: “You can look at how each senator and congressman allocated their funds, how much of these went to education, health, public works, and others. The most important thing is that the disbursements are publicly posted so the people are informed if these were used wisely or not, if these were spent properly or not.”
Magsaysay also said that aside from publicizing the distribution of pork barrel funds, there should likewise be a more thorough audit of how these were spent, because “if you really want to fool around, you can really fool around, that’s what I’m saying. But if you want to keep your nose clean, it’s easier because it’s a matter of conscience.”
Each senator gets P200 million in pork barrel funds every year, while congressmen get P70 million each.
Magsaysay said public disclosure of the ‘pork barrel’ allocations would further enhance President Aquino’s ‘daang matuwid’ policy and instill accuracy and transparency in government expenses.
He noted that while the country jumped 24 places in the recently released Corruption Perception Index of Transparency International, “there is still too much work that the executive needs to do. The legislative branch can do its share in shoring up international perception about the Philippines.”
“All of us should work hand in hand in improving how the world looks at our country. The three branches of government – the executive, the legislative and the judiciary – should spearhead this task. And the best way to do this is through leadership by example. Government leaders should lead the way.”