People’s taxes

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By Godofredo M. Roperos

Politics also

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

THERE was an eye-opening story in this daily yesterday. It was one that drew the attention of our people to the way legislators perceive their work as public service. I am referring to the accounting report of the Capitol about Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), otherwise known as “pork barrel,” that each legislator receives from Congress.

Some P38.68 million of the PDAF were allocated to Cebu’s eight districts, including the two in the city. It is interesting to note that one of the congressmen allocated P17.9 million or 46 percent of the total to the third district, about 22.5 percent to the fourth district, and some P7.45 million or about 19 percent to the second district. About nine percent was allocated to the sixth district.

All these were turned over to the Provincial Capitol.


From the records of the Provincial Accounting Office, the fund was paid for socio-cultural activities, medical bills, vehicles, and tuition, among others. The PDAF amount was placed as a local government trust fund for specific purposes, such as for sports activities, burial assistance, construction or concreting of covered basketball courts, medical assistance for constituents from the district, even waiting sheds and public toilets.

It is interesting to note that the legislator, who is reported to have given the biggest share of his PDAF to his district, is Rep. Pablo John Garcia. It seems that he had entrusted to the Provincial Capitol some 17.9 million, estimated in the report to be about 46 percent of the total amount of PDAF allocated by the House of Representatives as congressmen’s pork barrel for the entire province of Cebu.

In a way, I can attest to the veracity of the report of the Capitol’s accounting department, for I am a native of Balamban town, which is part of the third district.

Once in a while, some of the town’s residents who were hospitalized and were unable to foot the hospital bill at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) would show up at home asking if I could help them secure medical assistance from the congressman. And I did.

Indeed, the kind of assistance the town folk most need from our elective government officials, particularly the congressmen, is medical assistance.

Low-income inhabitants would not mind not having toilets, school buildings, or public markets, but they do need medical help. The indigent school children have P-Noy’s “Pantawid” program, but who takes care of the medical needs of the parents?

Clearly, this need has to be met, and the lawmakers’ PDAF, which comes from the people’s taxes, is truly the solution to this.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 18, 2013.


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