The news over the ill use of some lawmaker’s Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), better known as ‘pork barrel’, has swept the social media causing outrage among Filipino people calling for the abolition of the pork barrel system and for ending the culture of graft, corruption and patronage politics.
The PDAF is a regular allocation of public funds to the members of the Congress. It allocates P200 million a year for each senator and P70 million for each member of the House of Representatives.
Recently, the nation has been dazed by the pork barrel scam involving several politicians and a greedy businesswoman, Janet Lim-Napoles.
The government has been defrauded of some P10 billion over the past 10 years, having been diverted to Napoles, who owns 28 houses, 30 cars and 400 bank accounts, participating members of Congress and other government officials.
On August 26, one million new heroes who want the pork barrel scrapped will assemble at the Luneta Park.
“Kayo ang boss ko,” President Aquino told the Filipino people during his inaugural speech. Now, his bosses are asking him to abolish the pork barrel system.
Alarmed by the public outrage, PNoy announced that he is abolishing the special congressional allocation to halt misuses by congressmen and senators.
What Pnoy said was the abolition of the PDAF. He did not say the pork barrel system would be abolished. Definitely, the funds will no longer be called PDAF but it would remain as congressional allocations. Under the new system, it will carry another name but it is still the publics’ money at the discretion of politicians.
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The Aquino government, who promised a ‘tuwid na daan’, is now defending the pork barrel.
In the center of a public debate over the pork barrel, this is nothing new. History repeats itself. Our country is influenced by corrupt leaders.
How can we have wealthy Enriles, Estradas, Revillas, Ampatuans, Angaras, Ejercitos, Farinases, Singsons, Villafuertes, and people who often suffer poverty and hunger?
The pork barrel system has deprived Filipinos of their rights to social services. Each of the 94 million Filipinos owed P57,063. Our government's outstanding debt is P5.364 trillion. Millions of Filipinos who, according to a recent survey, went hungry in the last three months. Imagine what pork barrel can fund if it is used properly. We lack truthful and capable leaders who spend it prudently and wisely.
In a culture of corruption, we need to ACT now – promote accountability, credibility and transparency - by enabling the people to hold the government and to account the use of public resources. I strongly support the Freedom of Information. The money that our representatives are using is not for them. This is about the money of the people but the government destroys this freedom.
We call on the Aquino administration to abolish the pork barrel system and audit all the branches of the government. This is a system that keeps poverty prevalent.