Karamihan sa mga development at community planning officers sa Visayas na nakatanggap ng scholarship grant mula sa Office of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery (OPARR) noong 2014 ay kasalukuyang tumutulong na sa mga komunidad na nasalanta rin ng kalamidad tulad ng Bagyong Odette at Agaton.
Ang scholarship grant na ito na nagkakahalaga ng US$10-million ay mula rin sa United States Agency for International Development (USAID) sa pakikipagtulungan ng OPARR noong pinamunuan ito ni Senador Ping Lacson na dating nagsilbi bilang Presidential Assistant on Rehabilitation and Recovery.
Sa kanyang pagbisita sa Ormoc, Leyte nitong Miyerkules kasama ang kanyang ka-tandem na si Senate President Tito Sotto, nakausap nila ang ilan sa mga planning officers na naging scholars ng nasabing programa.
Many of the development and community planning officers in the Visayas who received scholarship grants from the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery (OPARR) through the US$10-million technical support and assistance extended by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) after their areas were devastated by Super Typhoon Yolanda are now helping their communities deal with similar disasters like Odette and Agaton – and independent presidential candidate Sen. Panfilo “Ping” M. Lacson is very proud of them.
Lacson, who as Presidential Assistant on Rehabilitation and Recovery facilitated their schooling eight years ago, met with some of the planning officers during his and vice presidential bet Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III’s visit to Ormoc, Leyte on Wednesday.
“Parang fulfilling. Of course tinamaan na naman ng Odette, tinamaan na naman ng Agaton. And we take pride in one of our legacy projects na nabanggit ko kanina, nagpa-scholar kami ng 162 planning officers who are now giving services sa kanilang respective municipalities (It was very fulfilling to see some of the 162 planning officers who underwent training via scholarships now giving services to their respective municipalities and dealing with the effects of recent cyclones like Odette and Agaton),” Lacson said.
In 2012, I recall being the first one to question the issuance of DBM Circular 541 during the budget deliberations on general principles of the 2013 GAA. I argued then that savings cannot be declared in the middle of the year. That early, I already sensed something ominous with that move of the DBM.
As it turned out, the unused appropriations in the first semester of the 2013 national budget were pooled to constitute what was later known as funds for the DAP. Worse, these proclaimed savings were realigned to fund additional pork barrel allocations of several senators and congressmen, further aggravated by the ill-timed conviction of the late Chief Justice Renato Corona by the Senate acting as an impeachment court, and in direct contravention of Art. VI, Sec. 25, Paragraph 5 of the 1987 Constitution, which clearly proscribes cross-border realignment.
While I feel for the former president, the question on his possible culpability on the actions taken by his DBM secretary will largely depend on the documents and paper trail made available to the Ombudsman prosecutors to prove or disprove his direct or indirect participation.
What is clear, though, is that former President Aquino did not pocket any DAP money, hence the case filed is for usurpation of legislative powers and not violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
Speech delivered before Philconsa at Manila Golf Club, Makati City
The great Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The world has enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.”
The country has enough funds to sustain government operations year after year, but always ends up short and resorts to borrowings. There are two reasons for it – greed and corruption. Continue reading “Pork Barrel 101”→