Consumer Protection

Abolish Pork, Set Up People’s Fund — Bam

 Senator Bam Aquino, who earlier suspended the use of his office’s Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) “until charges are filed” against the perpetrators of the P10B “PDAF scam”, now calls for the abolition of the pork barrel through an innovative measure. He proposes, instead, for a “People’s Fund” to be set up, to give Filipino taxpayers greater control over where a portion of their income taxes should go.

The People’s Fund “seeks to revolutionize public budgeting and funding by giving the taxpayers of the Philippines clear and concrete choices on where their money should go.”

It provides a mechanism for five percent (5%) of an individual’s income tax to be allocated to either of the following: (a) an accredited charity or civil society organization; (b) a national or local priority government project; or (c) a legitimate political party. 

“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 na twenty-five billion pesos.  Sa kadulu-duluhan, nakatipid pa rin ang gobyerno ng malaking halaga na ngayo’y napupunta sa pork barrel.”

Under the 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 organizations and initiatives, and shall likewise set the conditions, guidelines, and reporting requirements for the receipt and use of the funds by the benefitting organizations.

“People are sick and tired of seeing their taxes go to waste when precious money could instead be channeled toward initiatives that truly benefit millions of Filipinos. They are sick of the corruption that has been perpetuated by the current PDAF system. It’s time for the PDAF to go and bring the power back to the people through the People’s Fund,” Aquino adds.


Enforce Price Freezes — Sen. Bam

Amid the massive flooding caused by Typhoon Maring, Senator Bam Aquino reminds the Deparment of Trade and Industry (DTI) and local government units (LGUs) to strictly enforce the price freezes that are up in areas under a state of calamity.
“Once an area has been declared to be under a state of calamity, a price freeze should automatically be in effect,” points out Aquino, who chairs the Senate Committee on Trade and Commerce.
“Naiintindihan po natin na may kakulangan talaga sa supply ngayon, pero kailangan po nating alalahanin ang kapakanan ng nakararami.”
“Nakikiusap po tayo sa mga tindahan at vendors na huwag naman maging mapanamantala sa oras ng kalamidad,” Aquino adds.
The lawmaker likewise advises the public to be vigilant against unscrupulous traders who take advantage of the calamity and jack up their prices.
Reports may be made through the DTI Consumer Protection Hotline at (02) 751-3330.
Sen. Aquino also calls on the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to ensure that repairs to damaged roads and public infrastructure be completed “as soon as possible” in order to normalize the flow of goods.
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Bam Suspends PDAF

Senator Bam Aquino is suspending use of his office’s Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) “until the investigation is over and until charges have been filed” against all those involved in the highly publicized “PDAF scam.”

Aquino earlier expressed his support for investigations into the alleged misuse of some P10 billion worth of PDAF, and also called for “clearer and stricter” guidelines on the use of the fund. He also said, however, that government action should not end there given the public’s clamor for transparency, accountability, and good governance.

“People are already getting impatient—and that’s a good thing. The clamor only means that people have come to expect more from their government, and it’s good because it means they’re serious about good governance.”

“To show that we’re equally serious about the matter, we’re suspending the use of our office’s own PDAF,” the lawmaker stressed.

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