MANILA (UPDATED/CORRECTED)- The Human Development Network is urging the government to rethink its system of distributing resources including the pork barrel funds of lawmakers.
In an interview with ANC, the group said resources should not be distributed equally because under-developed provinces need more resources compared to urban areas.
"The rationale for the pork barrel is it allows the national government to be more responsive to the needs of the local governments. But the problem here is that where is the control on that? Rather than it emanating from more organic developmental plans and priorities at the local level, you leave it up to the national level," said. Dr. Noel de Dios, president of the Human Development Network.
Asst. Prof. Toby Monsod, coordinator of the the group, also said: "There's been a mismatch. The local government code was designed with good intention, except if you really look at what was assigned to provinces, cities and municipalities and barangays versus how much money they got under the law, there's a very severe mismatch."
"For example, provinces are assigned 37 percent of expenditures...but they only get 23% of the [Internal Revenue Allotment]. Cities on the other hand get 23 percent of the IRA but are assigned only 5 percent of the responsibility. So you really have a bad mismatch," Monsod added.
The network also believes the government should exert more effort in providing the basic needs of people in rural areas as this could spur development.
"What we are saying is that there ought to be a minimum guaranteed type of expenditure... First of all the basic services, health and education, because even if you are in a very depressed area if you have health and education, you can at least get out. That opportunity ought not be removed from you," De Dios said. -- ANC
Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled the name of Assistant Prof. Toby Monsod. Our apologies. --Eds.