Lots and lots of potential benefits!
Such as jobs creation and livelihood programs (if concerned officials have ample vision and imagination to pursue this), more medicine for public hospitals, more and better schools, expanded support to farmers and fishermen and many others.
The sums that would otherwise be lost to ghost projects and kickbacks to corrupt senators and congressmen are mind boggling! In 2013, about P14.6 billion worth of Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) remains unused. About P25.2 billion worth of PDAF has been proposed to be given to members of both houses of Congress.
Imagine the combined sum of P39.8 billion of PDAF and how millions of Pinoys stand to benefit from this huge amount.
The Supreme Court’s (SC) decision to rule as unconstitutional various PDAF rules and practices will certainly add vast sums to projects for the genuine benefit of the people and end billions that end up in the pockets of corrupt senators and congressmen.
The SC ruling will also help end devious patronage politics in the country. Until the SC’s recent temporary suspension of the grant of PDAF funds – which now becomes final and executory – the sitting president, now Benigno Aquino, uses PDAF as a carrot-and-stick weapon to get sought-after congressional approval to its priority bills or proposed laws.
“If you don’t support my priority bills in Congress, you don’t get your PDAF allocation or its release gets delayed!” This kind of threat is always used behind the scenes by a sitting president, representing the executive department, to bully Congress into submission.
With PDAF and patronage politics gone, Pinoys can now expect more rational deliberations of proposed laws, not simply rubber stamping of bills due to “bribe money” offered by the president. Better laws, better law-making process. Best for Pinoys in general.
The presidential “bribes” are substantial – P200 million to each senator every year and P70 million to each member of the House of Representatives.
With PDAF and millions of pesos in kickbacks gone, “laos” movie stars, TV personalities and other imbeciles will probably be discouraged from using their popularity to try to become lawmakers. Pinoys can therefore look forward to seeing better-quality lawmakers, instead of having useless and hare-brained senators like Lito Lapid and Bong Revilla who hardly contribute to lawmaking.
The SC’s decision on how the Malampaya Fund, or the government’s share in the Malampaya oil field, is to be used is equally important.
The use of this fund is restricted to energy development and other priority development projects according to a particular law. However, former president Gloria Arroyo apparently violated controls on the use of this fund, thus subjecting her, PDAF scam queen Janet Napoles and others to plunder charges.
As of June 30 this year, the Malampaya Fund had P132 billion, up from P70 billion when Aquino took over as president.
Clearly, P132 billion can go a long way in restoring power to Tacloban and other areas in the Visayas ravaged recently by super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).
This vast sum should also be used to put up new power projects to end persistent brownouts in various parts of Mindanao and prevent this problem from plaguing Luzon.
Graphics: Phil Daily Inquirer