More on Pork Barrel Scam
I do not agree with those who want to remove access to PADF for the President, Vice President and other officials of the Executive Branch. This reform would be counterproductive and would not be in keeping with the Constitution. The PADF, in addition to line items in the annual budget, is a means of channeling funds for priority projects that need instant attention because of the extreme or extraordinary circumstances faced by some people in urgent need of help. There is nothing wrong in members of the Executive Branch having access to these funds for priority allocation and disbursement, as long as the same rigor in auditing and monitoring is exercised as in the line items in the annual budget. There is also nothing wrong in part of these PADF money being channeled to legitimate nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) if in the judgment of the appropriate authorities, these NGOs are in a better position to implement projects more wisely and expeditiously. I still remember the instruction we received from then President Cory Aquino when she sent the late Roberto Villanueva and a group of private sector representatives to Japan to tell the officials disbursing ODA earmarked for the Philippines that she preferred that a large portion of ODA funding should be channeled through certified NGOs because "she was not yet sure that her own government had already been totally cleansed of the corruption inherited from the previous Administration." Who can question that NGOs like the Red Cross, the Sisters of Charities of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, the Gawad Kalinga and similar philanthropic organizations are safer conduits of ODAs than some still-to-be-reformed government agencies?