Aquino performs well in cleansing gov’t, says Rep. Fuentes

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/25 July) – The Aquino administration may not have done much in terms of implementating socio-economic programs and infrastructure during the last 12 months but it has made up for all the slack with its “no-nonsense” reforms and transformation in national governance, South Cotabato 2nd District Rep. Daisy Avance-Fuentes said.

Reacting to President Benigno Simeon Aquino III’s second State of the Nation Address on Monday, Fuentes said she considers the cleansing of the national government and the setting of reforms in governance as the top accomplishment so far of the Aquino administration.

“We saw that the promised changes had been slowly put in place, especially in terms of the government’s financial transactions,” she said.

Fuentes, who is a member of the Nationalist People’s Coalition, specifically cited her experiences at the House of Representatives wherein the allocation and releases of the congressional Priority Development Assistance Funds has become more transparent and stricter than in the previous administration.

Fuentes was a member of the 9th to 11th Congress, where she became Deputy Speaker, before winning as governor of South Cotabato in 2001.

She returned to the House last year after completing her three straight terms as governor.

She said the House leadership and the Aquino administration was particularly strict in terms of allocating the PDAF for projects that were listed in its menu of priority initiatives.

Fuentes said the stricter procedure has caused delays in the releases of funds for projects in their districts but it eliminated certain processes that had caused some shady transactions in the past.

In the allocation for classroom buildings, for example, she said her office was able to save P100,000 to P250,000 per P1-million allotment due to the elimination of so-called project kickbacks for certain parties.

“The delays in the fund releases happened only during the initial months and so far, the process is rolling quite smoothly,” said Fuentes, who was able to corner some P190 million worth of projects for her district during the past year.

With its promised reforms now starting to take shape, the former governor said she expects the Aquino administration to focus on the implementation of more tangible programs and projects for the next 12 months.

“This time, we need the more solid accomplishments. It has to show tangible plans and strategies in terms of addressing our worsening poverty problems and the lack of basic services, especially in the countryside,” she added. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)