Celso fears PDAF abolition will lead to more corruption PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 29 August 2013 11:47

District 1 Congressman Celso Lobregat yesterday said that scrapping the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of congressmen and senators, would only lead to more corruption, greater than what is presently happening in the country.

Lobregat was among the newly-elected congressmen who have been opposing calls for abolition of PDAF in the wake of a controversy brought about by its misuse by some national lawmakers, involving bogus non-government organizations (NGOs) of now fugitive businesswoman, Janet Lim-Napoles.

“Without this PDAF, congressmen and senators who might gamble helping out their respective constituents using their own money, will have a tendency to resort to other means, just to recover what they have given out, so removing this pork barrel, will the more, teach the elected officials to bankroll their personal money through corruption,” Lobregat told RPN’s ‘Zamboanga, Tiempo Ya!’ radio program.

Lobregat said critics can neither begrudge President Noy (Aquino), nor the lawmakers for using pork barrels, “as this is not unique in our country, because this system has been patterned from the government of the United States and other countries in the world”.

Lobregat said to avoid repetition of mistakes committed by some congressmen and senators in using their PDAF, such allocation should be directly distributed to concerned government agencies like the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Education (Deped), and Technical Educational Skills Development Authority (TESDA), “and with the funds already distributed in these government agencies, let congressmen and senators start identifying what projects or programs they intend to implement in their respective districts or constituencies”.

Lobregat admitted facing a dilemma of not being able to help his constituents, whose requests are now filing-up in his congressional office, due to the threatened abolition of PDAF.

“How can I explain to my constituents, that I cannot help them for their medical and social needs, because, I have not put in funds yet in DSWD, or at the Zamboanga City Medical Center, and I could not even fulfill my plans of granting scholarships to deserving students under TESDA, because our PDAF has been hostaged by the present controversy,” said the 1st district solon.

At the same time, the former mayor turned congressmanclaimed difficulties in answering to requests from barangays within his district, like dredging of rivers, asphalt overlaying of dilapidated roads, granting of assistance to victims of calamities, and other similar nature.

Lobregat also called on critics not to generalize all members of congress for being corrupt, “as only some may have misused their PDAF that caused all this present mess, so why punish all of us and the entire congress for the mistakes of the few rotten eggs.” — Philip Abuy