In light of his earlier pronouncements regarding the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and the need to give taxpayers greater control over public funds, Senator Bam Aquino has filed the People’s Fund Bill.
The People’s Fund Bill creates mechanisms for an individual taxpayer to allocate five percent (5%) of his or her income tax for any of the following: (1) an accredited charity or civil society organization; (2) a priority national or local government project; or (3) a legitimate political party.
Under this bill, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) shall establish the mechanism that would enable individual taxpayers to select beneficiaries upon filing of their annual income tax returns.
Meanwhile, an inter-agency committee led by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) shall determine the eligibility of respective organizations, and shall likewise set the conditions, guidelines, and reporting requirements for the receipt and use of the funds by the benefitting organizations.
“The people’s clamor for transparency, accountability, and good governance is growing louder and stronger. Government must heed the call of the people and institutionalize mechanisms that will ensure greater citizen involvement on how public funds are being spent,” Aquino stresses.
“To be clear, hindi ito bagong buwis na ipapataw sa mga tao. Ang People’s Fund ay manggagaling sa binabayad na ng mamamayan na tax kada taon. Ang pinag-iba lang ay merong kapangyarihan ang mga taxpayer na piliin kung saan pupunta ang porsyento ng perang ito. Ginagawa na ito sa ibang mga bansa; panahon na, na gawin ito sa Pilipinas.”
“After all,” Aquino continues, “our estimate of the People’s Fund is around ten billion pesos. Mas maliit pa rin sa papalitan niyang PDAF natwenty-five billion pesos. Sa kadulu-dulahan, nakatipid pa rin ang gobyerno ng malaking halaga na ngayo’y napupunta sa pork barrel.”
Photo source: Christina Mendez