By Eddie Barrita
CEBU CITY, (PNA) — Cebuano congressmen spend at least P65.4 million in pork barrel funds this year for hospital bills and other social services in Cebu, Department of Budget and Management records show.
Some P38.5 million from the Priority Development Assistance Fund paid for hospital bills of indigent patients in Cebu this year, according to DBM records.
These lawmakers include former representatives Rachel del Mar (Cebu City, north district), Eduardo Gullas (Cebu, first district), Pablo John Garcia (Cebu, third district), Arturo Radaza (lone district of Lapu-Lapu City), Red Durano (Cebu, fifth district) and incumbent Rep. Benhur Salimbangon (Cebu, fourth district).
The hospital bills were allotted to the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City with P20 million, Eversely Childs Sanitarium in Mandaue City with P2 million, Lapu-Lapu District Hospital with P1 million, Severo Verallo Momorial Hospital in Bogo City with P2.5 million, Bantayan District Hospital with P1.25 million and Daanbantayan District Hospital with P1.25 million.
A total of !0.5 million was also allotted to financial assistance for medical missions.
A separate P26.9 million from four Cebuano lawmakers went to the Dept. of Social Welfare and Development 7, also this year.
The amount was intended for the implementation of DSWD’s Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services.
Calls to abolish the PDAF were triggered by accusations that billions went to non-existent non-government organizations, allegedly organized by Janet Lim Napoles.
The Supreme Court recently issued a temporary restraining order on the release of the PDAF, while it hears petitions filed against the pork barrel system.
But DSWD 7 officials said the pork barrel funds they receive are either used to give financial assistance to “individuals in crisis situations” or transferred to local governments.
The CIDSS is the umbrella program of all social services offered by DSWD, Ligaya Dael, officer-in-charge of the DSWD 7 Crisis Intervention Unit, said.
She said the agency receives pork barrel funds to implement lawmakers’ “soft projects,” which include financial assistance to indigents, livelihood training and feeding programs.
As of Sept. 11, 2013, the DBM website reveals that Salimbangon allocated P4 million for the CIDSS, while former Rep. Tomas Osmeña (Cebu City, south district) gave P10.9 million.
Rep. Ramon “Red” Durano VI (Cebu, fifth district) and Rep. Cutie del Mar (Cebu City, north district) allocated P2 million and P10 million, respectively.