Bam backs scrapping of pork, pushes for 'People's Fund'

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 23 2013 12:04 PM | Updated as of Aug 23 2013 08:04 PM

MANILA -- Senator Bam Aquino is also now calling for the abolition of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel of lawmakers.

This, after he suspended the use of his PDAF until charges have been filed against those involved in the alleged P10 billion pork barrel scam.

Aquino is now proposing that a "People's Fund" be set up in place of the pork barrel to give Filipinos "greater control" over where a portion their income taxes goes by giving them "clear and concrete choices."

The proposed People's Fund provides a mechanism for 5 percent of an individual's income tax to be allocated to either an accredited charity or civil society organization, a national or local priority government project, or a legitimate political party.

"To be clear, hindi ito bagong buwis na ipapataw sa mga tao. Ang People’s Fund ay manggagaling sa binabayad na ng mamamayan na tax kada taon. Ang pinag-iba lang ay merong kapangyarihan ang mga taxpayer na piliin kung saan pupunta ang porsyento ng perang ito," Aquino said.

He said the People's Fund is estimated at around P10 billion.

"Mas maliit pa rin sa papalitan niyang PDAF na twenty-five billion pesos. Sa kadulu-dulahan, nakatipid pa rin ang gobyerno ng malaking halaga na ngayo'y napupunta sa pork barrel," he said.

Under the bill, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) shall establish the mechanism that would enable individual taxpayers to select beneficiaries upon filing of their annual income tax returns.

Meanwhile, an inter-agency committee led by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) shall determine the eligibility of organizations and initiatives, and shall likewise set the conditions, guidelines, and reporting requirements for the receipt and use of the funds by the benefiting organizations.

"People are sick and tired of seeing their taxes go to waste when precious money could instead be channeled toward initiatives that truly benefit millions of Filipinos. They are sick of the corruption that has been perpetuated by the current PDAF system. It's time for the PDAF to go and bring the power back to the people through the People's Fund," Aquino said.