Pork barrel out; no more NGOs

Pork barrel out; no more NGOs
President Benigno Aquino III.

It's time to abolish the PDAF," President Benigno Aquino III announced during a surprise press conference on Friday.

"Let's forget NGO. There will be no more NGOs," Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said Friday, declaring an end to dealings between congressmen and nongovernment organizations in the financing of projects.

Answering questions from reporters after his announcement, Mr. Aquino said he was not threatened by next Monday's rally against the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel.

"Why should we be worried? We've gained more allies in fixing the system. Thanks a lot to them," Mr. Aquino said.

The President said he was scandalized by the Commission on Audit's findings and he blamed it all on the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, now a representative of Pampanga in the House.

With the abolition of the PDAF, Mr. Aquino said the executive and the two Houses of Congress would find a new way to deal with the needs of constituents "in a manner that is transparent, methodical and rational" and "not susceptible" to abuse.

From now on, the President said, lawmakers could identify and "suggest" projects in the congressional districts but these had to "go through the budgetary process."

"If approved, these projects will be earmarked as line items, under the programs of your national government. In this way, they will be enacted into law as part of our national budget," Mr. Aquino said.

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