Subsidy eyed for political groups

Published by rudy Date posted on May 12, 2011
At least P500-million in state subsidy for political parties or a total of P3 billion for the six major groups is high on the agenda of a House panel hearing on a bill that seeks to demolish political patronage, influence peddling and turncoatism.
The House committee on suffrage, chaired by Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr., put a cap on political donations by individuals at only P1 million and by corporations, at P10 million.
The P10-million cap on political donations by corporations is meant to prevent big business from exacting favors from winning lawmakers and executive officials to protect their vested interests, said Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, principal author of the bill.
The P500 million subsidy is also meant to strengthen accredited political parties. The amount will be apportioned as follows: 5 percent for the education and information campaign and monitoring of the funds of the Commission on Elections, 30 percent for the senators and 65 percent for the congressmen.
Rodriguez said that each party will get a budget allocation of P150 million for its senatorial candidates and P325 million for its congressional candidates.
At least P3 billion will be allocated for the six major political parties such as the ruling Liberal Party, Lakas-Kampi CMD, Nationalist People’s Coalition,Nacionalista Party, National Unity Party and PDP-Laban.
“The budget allocations of P500 million would be released starting next year, or one year before the elections. But the allocation will be reduced to P350 million every year thereafter,” Rodriguez said.
The State Subsidy Fund would be used to augment the operating funds of the political parties and be used directly and exclusively for party development and campaign expenditures, Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez also said the P500 million would be given only by the government if the party was able to raise the same amount as counterpart from donations and membership dues. Otherwise, he said, whatever amount raised by the party less than P500 million would be the appropriate funds to be released to them. –Christine Herrera, Manila Standard Today

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