By MORTZ C. ORTIGOZA
ROSALES, Pangasinan – With the recent scraping by the Supreme Court of the Priority Development Assistant Fund (PDAF) of members of congress, the chairman of Abono Party List group called on the national government to lower the P1.253 Trillion goal it tasked the Bureau of Internal Revenue this year.
Engineer Rosendo So said this would give relief to the taxpayers.
He explained that the SC’s declaration that the PDAF, including the remaining P24.70 million this year, was illegal the government should slacken the pressure on revenue district offices all over the country so they would not squeeze taxpayers to cough up more taxes.
A big part of the tax goes to the PDAF.
“Without the pork (slang name of the PDAF) the one that will benefit from it will be the taxpayers,” So said in the vernacular.
The tax goal of the BIR this year is P1.25 trillion while the goal of the tax agency this year in Region-1 is P9 billion, according to BIR Region 1 Director Arnel Guballa.
Without the “pork”, So cited the following congressional projects and programs that will be affected: Free medical missions among the indigents, scholarship for poor college but deserving students, construction of needed school buildings, and necessary farm-to-market roads.
“Sa panahon ni Erap (former president Joseph Estrada) lumaki ng P40 million (a year) ang pork, sa panahon ni GMA (former president Gloria M. Arroyo) nag increased ng P70 million (a year),” he said.
Engineer So doubted if the congressmen can still ask PDAF from President Aquino because his P932 billion is being threatened too by some quarters who plan to file a case in the high tribunal.
“Depende iyan sa Supreme Court. Pati Malacanang babawasan din ang PDAF niya gaya ng (funds from) Malampaya (gas revenues) , PCSO (Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office), PAGCOR (Philippine Gaming Corporation)),” he said.
After the SC rendered null and void the privilege of congressmen and senators to identify projects and programs through PDAF, the plan of Abono Party List to expand its corn program in La Union has fizzled out too.
The corn program was conceptualized by So and other Abono Party stalwarts. The program lends corn seedling, fertilizers, and farm equipment to farmers without interest.
The five percent interest on agricultural loans is commonly practiced by private lenders which aggravates the plight of corn farmers.