Celso twits critics on ‘inutile’ yarn PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 09 December 2013 10:58

District 1 Representative Celso Lobregat chided critics for maliciously misinterpreting his recent statements pertaining to the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) that was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

In a gathering of newly-elected barangay officials last week, the District I solon lamented that because of the High Tribunal’s decision, congressional representatives are helpless when it comes to constituents’ requests for assistance in terms of projects and programs particularly infrastructures, educational scholarships, medical assistance and the like.

Following his pronouncements, Lobregat’s critics trained their guns on the solon anew, calling him inutile as a congressman representing the city’s first legislative district.

“I was just telling the truth. We have become inutile in that aspect of congressional work—identifying projects for our constituents because of the Supreme Court ruling. But in other aspects, I am in the thick of things, I am actively participating in sessions and in committees where I am assigned”, Lobregat asserted.

He lamented that this is not all that district constituents expect of congressional representatives but hoped that people will understand given the High Court ruling.

With the PDAF declared unconstitutional, projects and programs that should have been identified for implementation by the district representatives will now be funded under the General Fund and will most likely be identified by the regional directors of concerned agencies, according to Lobregat.

The District 1 solon said he will fully support moves to restore the PDAF, formerly called the countryside development fund (CDF) and considered as great equalizer. “It [PDAF] is not money but projects and programs that a congressman can identify for the benefit of the district constituents.”

Under the PDAF system, certain parts of the national budget are allocated for PDAF wherein the congressman or senator can identify certain programs or projects.

Lobregat said a congressman’s primary task is to legislate laws but as the elected representative of the people, he is also expected to bring projects, development and assistance to his constituents in the form of educational scholarships, medical endowment in public hospitals, livelihood projects, infrastructure projects and many more that are implemented by concerned department or agency of government.

Because of the SC ruling, he lamented, poor but deserving students previously identified as congressional scholars can no longer continue their studies and requests for medical assistance through the Zamboanga City Medical Center can no longer be processed by the congressional office as no funds can be allocated as medical endowment fund.

Lobregat emphasized that the PDAF has been very beneficial to the constituents but its alleged misuse prompted the Supreme Court to declare it as unconstitutional affecting all sectors.

He added that the SC ruling on the PDAF could be considered as the greatest calamity to have hit the country this year as its effect is widespread and devastating to all people in all parts of the country. —Rey Carbonel