Senators urged to donate P100K to massacre victims

January 4, 2010

 Amita Legaspi
January 5, 2010


Re-electionist Senator Lito Lapid wants his colleagues to donate a chunk of their respective Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) – or commonly referred to as pork barrel – to the families of the victims of the Nov. 23 massacre in Maguindanao province.

In filing Senate Resolution 1523, Lapid said there is an urgent need on the part of the government to provide a holistic and comprehensive aid and assistance to the relatives of the massacre victims.

He said the donation could be worth at least P100,000 from each senator.

“This is to help cope with the situation considering the trauma and violence inflicted on their loved ones and the burden of recovering and rebuilding their lives from such horrible and dreadful experience,” Lapid, a former movie actor, said.

Each senator is entitled to a P200 million PDAF allocation while a congressman has an allocation of P70 million. The release of the fund depends on the national government.

At least 57 people, most of them women and journalists, were killed in the carnage blamed on the powerful Ampatuan clan. Among the victims were relatives of Ismael Mangudadatu, the vice mayor of Buluan town who is gunning for the province’s governorship in the May elections.

The prime suspect in the massacre, Datu Unsay Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr., was arraigned Tuesday morning. He pleaded not guilty on the 41 murder charges slapped against him.

“This brutal and senseless murder and carnage of innocent civilians cannot be anything but a means to stifle or any participation in an otherwise democratic electoral process,” Lapid said in his two-page resolution.

Where’s our pork?

But this early, at least two senators had hinted that they are not likely to support Lapid’s resolution.

Buti pa siya may PDAF (He’s lucky he already has PDAF),” said Senator Francis Escudero, who claimed he has not been receiving his PDAF for five years for being a member of the opposition.

Another opposition lawmaker, Senator Francis Pangilinan, shared Escudero’s sentiments.

“Much as we would like to support the proposal, we have had no fund releases since 2006,” he said.

Pangilinan said it would be better if the financial assistance to the massacre victims should come from Malacañang.

“If Malacañang can download and release millions that ended up in fertilizer scam, it should be able to release additional funds for the family of the victims if it wishes to,” he said in a text message to GMANews.TV.

He was referring to the P728 million fund meant to purchase fertilizer for poor farmers but was allegedly used to fund President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s election campaign in 2004.


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