Rep. Magtanggol Gunigundo of the National Unity Party (NUP) is supporting the position of Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. on the prudent, transparent use of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and agreed that those who are against its use may opt not to spend their allocation.
Belmonte, who is also the honorary chairman of the NUP, has stressed the need for “much-tightened guidelines” on the use of public funds to guarantee their efficient, beneficial use for the people.
The Speaker has thumbed down proposals to scrap the PDAF, saying that those who oppose its use may choose not to avail themselves of the fund like what Senators Joker Arroyo and Panfilo Lacson did in the Senate.
Gunigundo agreed with the Speaker. “We are for the PDAF retention and fully support the Speaker's position that those who call for the PDAF abolition should not request release of their allocation to maintain their integrity," said Gunigundo, who represents the 2nd district of Valenzuela City.
In his speech accepting his re-election as Speaker last July 22, Belmonte said Congress “must nurture a legal ethos that mandates and extols prudence in spending, and transparency and accountability in the use of public funds, especially in the use of Priority Development Assistance Funds or PDAF.”
“Ambiguity must yield to specific, definite and verifiable development programs and projects for both district and party-list funded activities. A strict obedience to a much tightened guidelines in the use of public resources is the strongest guarantee of efficiency, ensuring that each peso spent generates exponential returns for our people,” the Speaker added.
Malacanang has likewise concurred with the Speaker’s position. Presidential deputy spokesperson Abigail Valte has said that President Benigno Aquino III “believes in theory, that the PDAF can be used for the correct reasons.”
“The President said the PDAF is really the share of the constituents in the budget. Technically, the job of the legislator is to bring to the attention of the national government the concerns that are not attended to on the national level but are needed by the district or municipality that the local government is unable to fund,” she added.