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Opposition cries 'pork' over Mar Roxas' DILG budget allocation

August 27, 2013 12:25am

Opposition party United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) has accused Interior Secretary Mar Roxas of accumulating his own "pork barrel" funds through the 2014 budget allocation of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

UNA secretary general and Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco said around P1.9 billion additional funds were earmarked for the DILG in 2014:

P1.25 billion - housing for informal settlers
P573 million - potable water supply
P76 million - climate change adaptation

"Ibig sabihin ng DILG, pagdating dun sa pag-a-asikaso ng pabahay... mas magaling sila sa National Housing Authority? 'Yung mga ahensya na binanggit ko... they are mandated by law para gawin ang trabahong 'yan," Tiangco said in a "24 Oras" report.

Tiangco suggested the DILG instead focus on problems of criminality as the Philippine National Police is under the supervision of the DILG.

GMA News was unable to reach Roxas for comment. But presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda defended the additional funds, which would be used for President Benigno Aquino III's programs under the DILG.

"The budget is the President's program and this is his budget, not… Secretary Mar," Lacierda said.

He added that in 2014, Aquino would implement the Informal Settler Families-Sagip Buhay program, which aims to relocate informal settlers to safer grounds.

Lacierda also explained that the programs the DILG is tasked to implement includes: Salintubig, a water program for waterless towns; Pamana, basic infrastructure-rebuilding for conflict areas; and the Bottom Up Budgeting, which taps communities to directly inform the government on hard infrastructure  needed, instead of national agencies dictating them.  

Meanwhile, Liberal Party secretary general and Western Samar first district Rep. Mel Senen Sarmiento also defended the DILG allocation.

Given the volume of projects as enumerated by Lacierda, it was necessary for the DILG to be involved. Roxas is a Liberal Party member and a former party president.

"Sa laki po ng pangangailangan, hindi kakayanin kung walang involvement ang national government. At ang pinakamagandang ahensya ay ang DILG talaga," Sarmiento said.

The "pork barrel", officially known as the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), became a sensitive issue amid reports of pillaging of these state funds by lawmakers.

The controversy also led to a massive nationwide street protest on Monday, as protesters were dissatisfied by the President's announced abolition of the PDAF. Marc Jayson Cayabyab/DVM, GMA News
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