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[ 17 Sep 2014 | No Comment ]

PRESS RELEASE

16 September 2014
Reference: ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio (09209220817)
 
On the first day of plenary deliberations of the 2015 national budget, a progressive lawmaker revealed that unconstitutional pork for legislators is even heftier under the 2015 budget, a total allocation of P27.39 billion and P94.44 million for each solon.  The total hidden pork increased by nearly 32% from the P20.76 billion in the 2014 budget while each solon’s share shot up from P71.6 million.
ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio L. Tinio noted that the following assistance programs of the “hidden pork agencies” infused with funds realigned from the item formerly known as Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) are still funded under the proposed budget:

AGENCY

PROGRAM

2014 GAA

(in ‘000)

2015 proposed budget (in ‘000)

DOH

Assistance to Indigent Patients

P 3,193,950

P 1,762,349

DOLE

Government Internship Program (GIP) and Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged Workers “TUPAD” Project

1,022,000

611,730

TESDA

Special Training for Employment Program

1,022,000

543,350

DSWD

Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services

4,090,000

3,642,405

CHED and SUCs

Tulong Dunong Program

4,124,200

2,459,287

DPWH

Local Infrastructure Program

7,309,494

18,369,350

 

TOTAL

P 20,761,644

P 27,388,471

Tinio also noted that the amounts of hidden pork per agency decreased by up to 46.83% except DPWH’s, which more than doubled (up by 105.31%).  Each solon’s share in infrastructure projects went up from P25.2 million in the current year to P94.44 million.
The lump sums per solon in all agencies decreased by up to P47%, except in the case of DPWH, which more than doubled from P25.2 million in 2014 to P94.44 million in 2015.  This set-up now makes hard projects have a 2/3 share in a solon’s the total hidden pork.  The old PDAF system allocated P40 million for hard projects out of the P70 million allocation per solon.

LUMP SUM PER SOLON

2014 GAA

2015 GAB

DOH

P 10.5 M

P 6.08 M

DOLE

3.5 M

2.11 M

TESDA

3.5 M

1.87 M

DSWD

14.0 M

12.56 M

CHED & SUCs

14.0 M

8.48 M

DPWH

25.2 M

63.34 M

P 71.6 M

P 94.443 M

The heads of these hidden pork agencies have earlier admitted that they still invite and admit referrals or recommendations of solons as to who will be the beneficiaries of these programs, a practice already declared illegal by the Supreme Court late 2013.  Most notable are the admissions of CHED Chair Patricia Licuanan aired at a closed-door hearing of the House Committee on Appropriations, of DOH Undersecetary Janette Garin at a meeting with solons, and of DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman during their recent budget briefing.
“It is clear that Aquino’s announcement that he has abolished the PDAF is nothing more than posturing,” said ACT Teachers Antonio L. Tinio.  ”Not only did he continue PDAF in 2014 despite the Supreme Court ruling banning it–he will bestow pork to legislators in the next year.  Still in secret but with even larger servings.”
Tinio proposed to further itemize lump sums in the budgets of the hidden pork agencies.
“And to make a clear the message that this government is serious in complying with the law and the people’s demand against all forms of pork and political patronage, Congress and Malacanang should enact a budget law explicitly prohibiting formal and informal practices of post-enactment intervention.”
Tinio ended that they will continue to oppose the perpetuation of illegal hidden congressional pork and move for the deletion of these provisions allowing solons to have personal lump sums that preserve the politicization of the delivery of social services.  ###

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[ 9 Sep 2014 | No Comment ]

PRESS RELEASE

8 September 2014

Reference: ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio (09209220817)

 

Citing the reality that low pay takes lives, ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio and representatives of education workers demanded for immediate substantial salary increases for public sector employees.  This call coincided with the briefing for DepEd’s proposed 2015 budget Monday afternoon and the Grand Lobbying for Salary Increase of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers, the second lobby effort this year at the Lower House for the immediate passage of pending bills for pay hikes for education workers and other government employees.

 

“It is not only loan sharks like PO3 Domino Alipio who kill and maim public school teachers and other state workers,” said Tinio, referring to a policeman who went on a shooting rampage in Pangasinan National High School after failing to collect payments for usurious loans from its teachers.  “By refusing to enact salary increases despite the continuing rise of the cost of living, the government itself is the very cause of the suffering of its employees.”

 

Tinio stressed that the 2015 budget is the right opportunity to make immediate pay hikes possible, and that the recent junking of four impeachment complaints against him proves that he could push Congress, which is led by his party and coalition allies, to do anything if he wants to or if it would be to his benefit.

 

“This time, we dare him to push Congress to do what is to the benefit of the people—to amend the 2015 budget bill with a provision for salary increases.”

 

Tinio has previously slammed Malacanang for its refusal to back proposed legislated salary increases despite a legal mandate to enact pay increases in the annual budget and resounding support from solons both in the Lower House and the Senate.  To date, Tinio’s House Bill 245 or the proposed hike to P25,000 and P15,000 of the salaries of teachers and non-teaching employees, respectively, has garnered the support of 121 of his colleagues in the House of Representatives.

 

He also noted that the Aquino government should take the Pangasinan shooting as a wake-up call to ease its employees’ economic woes.  “Hindi na dapat niyang hintayin na may mapaslang o masaktan muli sa hanay ng mga guro at kawaning lubog sa utang dahil hindi na makaagapay ang kanilang sweldo sa para sa araw-araw nilang gastusin.  At lalong hindi na dapat hintayin ang election year bago niya bigyan ng hustisya ang mga biktima ng Pangasinan shooting at iba pang biktimang kawani sa buong bansa na nagtitiis sa kakarampot na sahod.”  ###

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[ 13 Aug 2014 | No Comment ]

Inday Varona:

PDAF ‘dead’? Well, gov’t has raised the zombie

“Everybody screams about patronage politics in this country. Where do you think the money for that comes from?

“There are two very good reasons to get rid of pork:

  • Government, or its executive branch, is mandated to ensure the efficient and rational delivery of basis services to the people, by way of proposing and then implementing the budget;
  • We know that elected officials, especially legislators, channel pork to reward their supporters or lure in new ones.

“Through this miasma of discretionary power runs the infamous “weather-weather lang” character of Philippine governance. This rot is what makes decisions of both elected and voters a matter of tribal strength rather than of justice or efficiency.

“We scream against patronage politics and yet we shrug off the reality of millions of poor Filipinos having to throw themselves at the mercy of politicians to get what is their by right under the Constitution.”

Read more at Ms. Varona’s blog.

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[ 8 Aug 2014 | No Comment ]

News Release

August 8, 2014

Reference: ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio (0920-9220817)

 

ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio L. Tinio slammed agrarian reform officials for their illegal juggling of funds in the Department of Agrarian Reform budget.

This illegal realignment surfaced when DAR employees failed to receive their salaries for July.  According to the employees, the DBM informed them that it was awaiting requirements for a proposed juggling of over P400 million in the DAR’s current budget.

As revealed by Tinio during the DAR’s budget hearing before the House Committee on Appropriations yesterday, the proposal was contained in a letter dated June 10, 2014, signed by DAR Undersecretary Perry Villanueva with the approval of Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes, endorsing “the recalibration of the DAR’s 2014 targets and budget in relation to the approved 2014 General Appropriations Act (GAA).”  (Please see the four-page letter in the attached file.)

The “recalibration” calls for the transfer of P412.447 million appropriated by the 2014 GAA from the regional offices to the DAR Central Office.  The letter cites as reasons for the so-called recalibration “critical activities that need fast and immediate actions…not funded under the GAA.”  It also said that “there is also a need to conduct an Impact Assessment of CARP for its 25 years of implementation,” adding that “the program is “urgent but not funded under the 2014 GAA.”  The new activities to be funded under the recalibrated budget include “LAD [Land Acquisition and Distribution] activities for Hacienda Luisita” and “DAR-NAPC Partnership.”  (Full list in Annex A of the letter.)

Upon Tinio’s questioning, DAR officials said that the proposal has already been approved by the DBM.

“What the President does, his Cabinet officials will do as well. If the President usurps the power of the purse of Congress and aggressively justifies the same to the public, is it any wonder that DAR officials now feel entitled to do the same?” said Tinio. “The President committed unconstitutional acts through his Disbursement Acceleration Program. Now DAR officials appear to be committing similar acts through so-called budget recalibration.”

The lawmaker noted that “there’s no such animal as recalibration” in the laws and regulations pertaining to budget execution. “It’s a new-fangled term invented by DAR to justify illegal juggling of funds appropriated for specific purposes by Congress. It’s actually technical malversation, a criminal act prohibited by the Revised Penal Code.”

“The Supreme Court decision on DAP reminded us of the basic tenet of the Constitution that ‘no money shall be paid out of the Treasury except in pursuance of an appropriation made by law.’ And yet we have the DAR asking that its current budget be used for activities not funded under the 2014 GAA, not just once but twice in the same letter. What’s worse is that the DBM approved it. It seems clear that this Administration really thinks of the Constitution as a mere scrap of paper,” said Tinio.

Tinio pointed out that the DAR “recalibration” directly relates to the ongoing debate on the Aquino administration’s proposed redefinition of savings and augmentation. “This is exactly what will happen if Congress adopts Malacañang’s DAP-inspired redefinition of savings and augmentation. Agencies will feel free to disregard the appropriations given to them as a mandate by Congress and craft their own budgets without Congressional authorization. This subverts transparency and undermines effective oversight on the use of the people’s money.”

Upon Tinio’s motion, the Committee on Appropriations resolved that DAR and DBM would be summoned for another hearing to explain the so-called recalibration.

“We cannot remain silent in the face of another usurpation of the powers of the purse by the President and his alter egos,” concluded Tinio. ###

[Attachments: 4 pages of the DAR letter containing the approved recalibration]

 

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