[Statement] #ScrapPork Network still hears loud “Oink!” from 2014 Budget

#ScrapPork Network still hears loud “Oink!” from 2014 Budget

The 2014 General Appropriations Act still contains discretionary and lump sum funds of lawmakers and P83.24 billion in unprogrammed funds, according to the watchdog group, #ScrapPork Network (SPN).

scrap pork network

As it stands, the National Budget is a “shameless and unconscionable violation of the Supreme Court ruling declaring the Pork Barrel System unconstitutional,” said #ScrapPork Network spokesperson Peachy Tan.

She also said the government failed to seize the opportunity to create a display of genuine “tuwid na daan” by not turning the rehabilitation of disaster-stricken areas as models for transparency and responsive budgeting. Tan hit Sen. Jinggoy Estrada’s “special provision” earmarking P200 million to support local government units, half of which is allocated for the City Government of Manila governed by his father, Mayor Joseph Estrada.

“He is one of the principal suspects on the Napoles plunder case wherein he is accused of pocketing P200 million from ghost projects with Napoles NGOs, and now, he is violating the Constitution with a liposuction of his pork, only to be transferred to his dad,” Tan said.

She added that the new budget is proof that piecemeal reforms in governance will only come under perennial attack from traditional politicians “who will throw scraps at the public while they find creative means of diverting the people’s funds.”

Tan reiterated the need for the Filipino to be vigilant, instead of jubilant, in the midst of the reported “pork-less” budget and the declared unconstitutionality of the Pork Barrel System. “Clearly, unprogrammed funds still exist and lawmakers like Jinggoy can still allocate funds appropriated to them on their own discretion,” Tan cautioned.

Major disasters like Typhoon Yolanda, she added, could be the “opening of the floodgates” for more “discretionary spending.”

“Our government has collected nearly P600 million from international donations for rehabilitation and relief of Yolanda-stricken areas and a big chunk of the pledged amount has not been received yet. Reports say tons of relief goods are still undelivered by the Department of Social Welfare and Development and other government agencies while temporary shelters, in the form of bunker houses, are structurally weak and overpriced,” Tan explained.

“Yet, our government plans to spend, with full discretion, P80 billion from taxpayers money for rehabilitation. Our question is: Is this budget transparent and responsive? Have affected communities even been consulted?” she asked. #ScrapPork Network calls on the Filipino people to intensify further the battle for accountability, transparency, and democratic budgeting for 2014 might be the “Year of the Mutant Pig.”

Source: http://scrapporknetwork.com/scrappork-network-still-hears-loud-oink-from-2014-budget/

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