2 retired DPWH-Bicol execs join move for ‘pork’ abolition

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dpwh logoBy Manilyn Ugalde

LEGAZPI CITY, 23Aug2013 – Two retired executives of the Dept. of Public Works and Highways Bicol regional office have joined the move for the abolition of the pork barrel or the Priority Development Assistance Fund being enjoyed by the country’s lawmakers.

Oscar Cristobal, retired assistant regional director, and Romeo Esplana, former DPWH Bicol public affairs chief, also urged Filipinos here and abroad to join the move to abolish the graft-ridden fund, saying the robbing of pork barrel funds by members of the Senate and the Lower House only worsens the people’s miseries and poverty.

Esplana was more vocal even when he was still with the service as he led a protest rally held in front the DPWH regional office here called by the former Diocese of Legazpi Bishop Lucilo Quiambao against the indiscriminate use of dredging funds placed at the behest of politicians.

He cited the Yawa River here where billions of funds had been poured for dredging projects, many of which were considered ghost, as only 20 percent was being accomplished.

Claiming they had more than 35 years of service in the DPWH regional office in Bicol, the two executives said they know how the pork barrel funds were being applied by the lawmakers at the expense of the taxpayers, in collaboration with the implementing agencies.

Esplana said the application of pork barrel funds was being decided shamelessly, with kickbacks reaching an unimaginable rate.

He added that in Bicol region, regular funds are being treated the same as pork barrel funds.

Bicolano Sen. Francis Escudero has called for a Senate investigation into the Napoles pork barrel controversy.

According to Esplana, who holds a degree in Master in Development Management from the Asian Institute of Management and Master in National Security Administration (MNSA), said the pork barrel should be totally abolished and lawmakers should concentrate in law making.

He suggested the revival of the Presidential Assistance on Community Development where the pork barrel can be channeled, in cooperation with line agencies, separate from the functions of elected officials.

Esplana said without the lawmakers’ involvement in community projects, scholarships, and health projects, they could be better watchdogs of how those funds will be implemented by line agencies to avoid the “scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” syndrome. (PNA)

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