By BOBBY Q LABALAN
SORSOGON CITY: Assistance to barangays and municipalities will continue despite the abolition of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) which was recently declared illegal by the Supreme Court.
This was the assurance made by Congresswoman Evie Escudero as she met with some 255 new and re-elected barangay captains from the first district of the province last December 6 for the orientation and briefing conducted by two government agencies.
In her message, Escudero said the abolition of the PDAF, also known as pork barrel fund, would not hinder her efforts to extend assistance to her constituents through programs and projects that are responsive to the needs of the people.
“Let it not be said that my ability to fulfill my duty depends solely on the PDAF,” she stressed, adding that she had been coordinating with various government agencies to source out funds or to tap their existing programs for the needs of the people.
“Even before I assumed office, the PDAF had already been suspended so I had never experienced how to utilize it and yet I continue to deliver programs and projects to the barangays,” she pointed out.
As proof, Escudero said several school buildings in Castilla, Donsol, and Pilar are due for implementation before the year ends.
Escudero announced that she would be visiting all the barangays in her district again to hold dialogues with the barangay officials on their priority programs and determine how she could assist them.
The briefing and orientation held at the Escudero residence in Barangay Buhatan was part of the initiatives to tap existing programs and projects and direct these to specific barangays and municipalities where it would suit the needs of the people.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Department of Labor and Employment conducted lecture and forum relative to their programs and projects which directly involve the participation of barangay officials and their constituents like the solid waste management program, land titling, national greening program, and many more.
The labor department, meanwhile, explained the processes and procedures that have to be followed in availing livelihood programs for marginalized sectors.
Simultaneous with the activity, a separate orientation was also being held that day by the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) for the Municipal Solid Waste Management Councils of Casiguran and Castilla at Fritz Homestay in barangay Tugos.
The solid waste orientation, which was also an initiative of Escudero, aimed to expedite the implementation of the solid waste program in the two municipalities as pilot areas.
Escudero requested the DENR through Regional Executive Director Gilbert Gonzales to provide shredder for the processing of wastes.
The lady solon stressed that the solid waste program is a potential source of livelihood especially in the barangays. – Bicol Mail