Abolition of pork barrel will make me work harder as legislator — Lilia PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 17 December 2013 11:00

District 2 Rep. Lilia Macrohon Nuno said the abolition of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), commonly known as the pork barrel funds, would motivate her to work harder as a member of the House of Representatives in bringing in more budget allocations for soft and hard projects to Zamboanga City.

Speaking before traditional Ateneo de Zamboanga University Metro Manila Alumni Association (ADZUMMAA) Christmas party in Quezon City Saturday night, Nuno said she was not bothered by the recent Supreme Court decision declaring as unconstitutional the PDAF system. Before the SC decision, each member of the House was entitled to an annual allocation of P70 million in pork barrel funds.

“Of late, certain members of Congress were quoted in media as saying that the abolition of PDAF has rendered them helpless or useless in providing assistance to the people,” Mrs. Nuno said. “(They say) that legislators can no longer help bring about soft and hard projects to their constituents because pork barrel funds can no longer be accessible to them.”

“I beg to disagree,” she pointed out. “I dare say without fear of contradiction that the abolition of the pork barrel funds will not make me a lesser envoy of the Second District of Zamboanga City in the House of Representatives.”

Rep. Nuno explained that contrary to the fear of some legislators, absence of PDAF will prompt her to work harder in representing the interests of the people of Zamboanga City in the annual budget process undertaken by Congress.  She noted that even without PDAF, the Philippine Constitution still mandated the House of Representatives with the so-called “power of the purse.”

“I intend to utilize that power with earnest in behalf of the people of Zamboanga City,” Mrs. Nuno said. “As I did with the recently approved 2014 national budget, I intend to go through the proposed 2015 national budget with a fine-tooth comb to see to it that Zamboanga City will not be left behind in the allocation of funds in the national expenditure program.”

Among those present during the affair were ADZUMMAA President Paul Pe, Jesuit Provincial Superior Fr. Tony Moreno, incumbent Ateneo de Zamboanga University President Fr. Karel San Juan, former ADZU President Bill Kreutz, former Bureau of Internal Revenue Commissioner Virgie Trinidad, Zamboanga Economic City Special Zone Authority Administrator Chris Arnulco.

Mrs. Nuno said she had asked the regional directors of the various line departments to submit their proposed programs and projects for Zamboanga City so that she would see to it that they were included in the proposed 2015 national budget before it is submitted by Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to the Office of the President (OP).

In her speech, Mrs. Nuno also outlined the projects she initiated for Zamboanga City.  “Of late, I have asked Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala to include the construction of 11 farm-to-market-roads in my district in the programs of the Department of Agriculture. We need to increase farm productivity and hasten the delivery of farm products to the market. Once implemented, these roads will cost over P22 million,” she said.

Next month, Mrs. Nuno revealed that she was bringing to Metro Manila a number of barangay officials for a study- training tour on the modern techniques of waste management disposal.  “The cities of Las Pinas and Marikina have graciously agreed to host the training program,” she said. “It is about time that we address the worsening garbage disposal program in our City by adopting more advanced and efficient ways to dispose waste materials.”

Nuno said she would continue with her scholarship. “While some legislators are worried on how to continue with their PDAF-funded scholarship programs, our program to help the poor but deserving students in Zamboanga is on track and will even accommodate more beneficiaries,” she noted.

Nuno revealed that the scholarship programs will be funded by the family-sponsored Jainudin Nuno Foundation and the Metro Stonerich Construction Company.

She also mentioned in her speech her request from House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Justice Secretary Lilia De Lima and Budget Secretary Butch Abad to conduct a thorough investigation on an alleged syndicate peddling fake SAROs (Special Allotment Release Order) in the House of Representatives.

“I came across this racket after my own staffer identified as Emmanuel Raza was implicated in the scandal. I have advised this staffer of mine to submit himself to the investigation of the National Bureau of Investigation as I will not hesitate to fire him once he is proven guilty,” Mrs. Nuno said. “Transparency and accountability are political principles that I cherish in my public life through the years and I will never tolerate any form of graft and corruption among my subordinates and employees, especially this late in my career.”

The ADZUMMAA is a 25-year-old association of Ateneo de Zamboanga graduates who are now residing in Metro Manila and its nearby provinces.