DAVAO CITY – Former Bayan Muna Partylist Rep. Teodoro ‘Teddy” Casiño said that the controversial pork barrel remained tucked in the budget of national government agencies.

Casino said the two forms of pork barrel, the Disbursement Acceleration Fund (DAP) and the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) “still exist, hidden in various government agencies” despite the Supreme Court ruling that the pork barrel was unsconstitutional.

The Department of Health, for instance, he said. has its Medical Assistance for Patients, which would require applicant patients to be indigent. He said the MAP funds will be managed by the congress representatives of their respective districts where the patients reside.

The congressman,  Casino said, “will be the one to decide who is indigent or not”.

There is also the Commission on Higher Education which he said is not also scot-free. “CHED’s scholarship system has a lot of requirements, that even CHED’ chairperson Patricia Licuanan acknowledged pork’s presence in the agency”.

The other favorite agencies to tuck in the discretionary funds, Casiño said, included Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Department of Social Welfare and Development and Department of Labor and Employment.

He said the pork barrel is hidden in the government’s “wrong concept of savings.” Savings in government “is officially defined as funds intended for projects that have not been used”,. he said. “One reason is abandonment of projects. If the proposed project was not pushed through, the funds intended for the said project would be declared as savings and would go to the president”.

“Hindi na iyan savings, kupit iyan” (That’s not savings anymore, that’s stealing), said Casiño.

Casino held his Teddy Talks forum on the Philippines’ national situation on Thursday at the Sangguniang Panlunsod.

Kit Iris Frias, former College Editors Guild of the Philippines vice president for Mindanao, said the PDAF should be removed  “but it’s a decision to be made by the citizens .

Frias said that “there is hope for the Philippines, but it lies in the masses”.

“History has always been theirs,” she said. (davaotoday.com)

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