Priority Development Assistance Fund
The Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), also known as the congressional pork barrel, is a lump-sum appropriation in the annual General Appropriations Act or the National Budget. It is used to fund priority development programs as well as the projects of the government.
The pork barrel funds account for a little over 1 percent of the national budget. PHP 200 million and PHP 70 million are allocated a year for each senator and member of the House of Representatives, respectively.
Priority budgets and programs may be in the form of “hard” projects or infrastructure projects like roads, bridges, school buildings, and the like. These may also be in the form of “soft projects” or non-infrastructure projects like scholarships and livelihood programs.
For representatives, funds are split into PHP 30 million each of the representative's pork barrel for “soft programs” and PHP 40 million for “hard programs”. For senators, their pork barrel is evenly split in half for “soft” and “hard” projects.
Legislators refer to a menu of “hard” and “soft” projects which can be funded using congressional allocations to decide on what projects to identify for their constituents. It is contained in the special provisions of the annual General Appropriations Act (GAA).
Legislators can pick from the following projects:
- Education (Scholarships)
- Health (Financial assistance to indigent patients, purchase of medical equipment)
- Livelihood/ social services
- Rural electrification
- Water supply (Construction of water system, installation of pipes/pumps/tanks)
- Financial assistance (For specific programs and projects of Local Government Units (LGUs))
- Public works (Roads, bridges, flood control, school buildings, hospitals, health facilities, public markets, multi-purpose buildings and pavements)
- Peace and order (Purchase of firetrucks and firefighting equipment, patrol vehicles, prisoners’ vans, multicabs, police patrol equipment, construction/repair of fire stations, police stations, jails)
- Forest management
- Arts and culture
As these requests cannot be accomodated at the same time, a staff member of each legislator compiles requests by his or her constituents and the office services them according to the time these were submitted to them and the priority.
The summary of PDAF releases for the Fiscal Year 2013 amounted to PHP 11,581,550,888. PHP 7,996,663,888 was used by District Representatives, PHP 1,907,600,000 by Partylist Representatives and PHP 1,677,287,000 by the Upper House.
How it works
- A Senator or Representative makes a request for the release of his or her allocation which is accompanied with a project list. Projects are drawn from a menu specified in the annual budget law.
- The request is sent to the Senate finance committee or the House appropriations committee. It is then endorsed by the committee chairman to the Senate president or the Speaker, who forwards it to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
- The DBM, which verifies if the project list conforms to the menu in the budget law, releases the funds to the implementing agency which is identified by the lawmaker.
- The lawmaker, who is furnished a copy of the release document known as the special allotment release order (SARO), is not supposed to meddle in project implementation. Instead, he or she chooses non-government organizations (NGOs) which will receive the lawmaker's funds and implement his or her projects. The transfer is covered by a memorandum of agreement signed among the lawmakers, their implementing agencies and their chosen NGOs.
- A post-project implementation examination will be conducted by auditors.
- “Priority Development Assistance Fund”.Republic of the Philippines Department of Budget and Management.(Accessed on 3 September 2013).
- “Summary of PDAF Releases for Fiscal Year 2013”.Republic of the Philippines Department of Budget and Management.(Accessed on 3 September 2013).
- Diaz, Jess.“PDAF: How it works”.philSTAR.com.(Accessed on 3 September 2013).
- Guidaben, Agatha.“A buffet of pork: P25 billion at lawmakers' discretion”.GMA News Online.(Accessed on 3 September 2013).
- 10 billion pork barrel scam
- “COA Special Audit Office – Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and Various Infrastructures including Local Projects (VILP)”.The ProPinoy Project.(Accessed on 3 September 2013).
- “Government-wide Performance Audit Report on the Allocation and Utilization of Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and Various Infrastructures including Local Projects (VILP) Covering CYs 2007-2009”.Republic of the Philippines Commission on Audit.(Accessed on 3 September 2013).