COA bucks P18M Capitol Board pork

Members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan can no longer appropriate for themselves any pro grams, projects or activities under the so-called pork barrel system otherwise the Commission on Audit would disallow the disbursement charged against the appropriations.

This was the warning raised by State Auditors in keeping with the ruling of the Supreme Court declaring the 2013 PDAF including all informal practices of similar import and effect as unconstitutional.

Only expenses related to the maintenance of SP offices and those directly related to their law-making functions should be included in the budget.

But, under the 2015 annual budget, it was found that P 17,066,000. for MOOE and P 934,000. for Capital Outlay were included identified and requested by the SP members.

It has been the practice for many years, that SP members like congressmen and senators, could identify “soft projects” like scholarships, medical and financial assistance, aid to barangays and “hard projects” like purchase of communication equipment, portable generators, construction of footbridges and multi-purpose centers, installation and maintenance of street lighting systems and furniture and fixture.

COA reiterates that SP members are only supposed to enact ordinances, approve of resolutions and appropriate funds for the general welfare of the provinces and its inhabitants. It notes that the Governor and the SP should also follow the principle of separation of powers.

Provincial Administrator Richard Enojo said that the Local Finance Committee has not yet recommended for the release and approval of the P18 million appropriation for projects identified by the SP members. None will also be included in the 2016 budget. (By Dems Demecillo)

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