DBM to tighten PDAF rules further

MANILA – Secretary of Budget and Management Florencio B. Abad affirmed the Department of Budget and Management’s (DBM’s) continuing commitment to improve transparency and accountability in the use of Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF), adding that the agency will wholly comply with the President’s directive to put all PDAF releases on hold until the investigation on the fund’s misuse has concluded.

The Secretary of Budget made this statement following the release of the Commission on Audit (COA) report on the utilization of PDAF and Various Local Infrastructures and Projects (VILP) fund releases from 2007-2009.

“We’re diligently studying COA’s findings, which can help us establish more lines of accountability and allow us to spot areas for operational improvement in DBM. In fact, we’ve already formed an internal group that will helm this exercise, beginning with the reconciliation of data from the COA report with our own records,” Abad said in a statement posted at gov.ph.

“This study also goes hand-in-hand with President Aquino’s instruction to halt all PDAF releases until the official investigation yields a more conclusive picture on the extent of PDAF misuse, along with concrete details on who must be held accountable,” he added.

Abad also noted that the DBM’s plan to develop stricter rules for PDAF coincides well with current deliberations on the proposed 2014 National Budget in Congress.

“The President’s instruction for us to tighten PDAF rules is especially timely, now that budget deliberations are at full throttle. This is most opportune for our colleagues in Congress to signify their full cooperation with the Administration’s transparency and accountability agenda, beginning with the approval of much-needed reforms in the management of PDAF.

“With more airtight PDAF rules in place, we can ultimately ensure that public funds–especially those under our legislators’ watch–will directly and substantially benefit our lawmakers’ constituents and create a positive impact on the socio-economic development of their respective districts,” Abad said.#