Pork Barrel: the deceits, lies, and selfishness
Ringo | On 28, Aug 2013
Corruption — this is one of the most common problem in each and every country in the world. An American instructor of mine noted that in his country there are politicians or public servants being kicked out and punished almost every month due to corruption. He added that it’s a mere proof that corruption is everywhere. At the back of my head, in his country it’s better, because they punish. While here, in my beloved Philippines, the more corrupt you are, the possibility of you to become powerful is bigger.
Why I said so? It’s because of judicial reach. The more money you have, the justice (can we call it justice?) is closer to you. A great example of this is the criminal threat “libel.” With libel one can’t accuse someone. A small person, with small voice, can’t voice out opinion as the powerful threatens them to abort. Libel here, in my beloved Philippines, is a crime punishable to imprisonment.
The rich people can afford the greatest lawyers who can find loopholes in our judicial system. And logically thinking, the corrupt can get away with their acts using their not-so-hard-earned money.
In line with this, just recently, the controversy rose. Whistle blowers came out and exposed a scam involving five senators who allegedly allocated their Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) or what is called Pork Barrel to non-existing NGOs. The news was first published by the Philippine Daily Inquirer on July 2013.
The Pork Barrel and It’s History
The Pork Barrel is an internationally used term for the money allotted for the government projects. The money is distributed to the members of the upper government like the congress and senate. Here in the Philippines, the budget is usually for three years, 200 million for the senators and 70 million for each representatives.
Tony La Viña, a political analyst, noted that the term “pork barrel” was used as an insult. During the early America, slave owners will give their slaves a barrel of salted pork that they have to fight over, since then, the term used to any American funds for lawmakers.
According to the Commission on Audit as quoted by the Rappler there are 74 legislators who exceeded their pork while eight of them allocated their funds outside their respective districts for the period 2007-2009.
Here are the members of the house with highest budget:
- Compostela Valley Rep Manuel “Way Kurat” Zamora – P3.2 B
- Speaker Prospero Nograles of Davao City – P604.5 M
- Mandaluyong Rep Neptali Gonzales II – P395 M
Biggest allocations to senators:
- Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile – P904.5 M
- Sen Edgardo Angara – P862 M
- Sen Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., – P853 M
It’s no brainer, even a kindergarten can understand that there is a discrepancy. There is a breakage of law. There are some people who exceeded their funds. Then what happened?
Based on the July 2013 article by the Philippine Daily Inquirer (stated above), the people and the government was defrauded with money amounting to P10 billion. The money went to the pockets of people who created a non-existing NGOs that was funded by the people’s money.
The main whistle blower was actually kidnapped and was only saved by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in the condominium unit owned by the alleged mastermind of the scam.
If there’s a smoke, there is fire. We are all working our ass*s out to make a living. We pay taxes as our responsibility to the country only to found out that it only goes to thick-faced, low level creatures and their families? We always grief with the large amount of deductions from our salaries and yet there are people who will stole it without getting bother. We are required by the government to pay our taxes and I think it’s about time that we, the people, require the government to tell us where are the taxes going?
My parents always told me not to get things I and my family didn’t own. Despite I grew with lots of hardship, I didn’t steal. And I promise, I won’t steal. Now, it came into my mind what kind wisdom the parents of these thieves teach them? Or, is it themselves? Are they being held? Do they have conscience? I don’t know. One thing’s for sure, there is something wrong.
I studied in PUP, a school with the highest number of students in Asia, and a school with a very low budget. I and my classmates once experienced looking for an empty or available room as the room designated for us is already occupied by an earlier class. Meaning, classrooms are lacking. Where are my relatives’ taxes go? By that time, I didn’t have the idea. But this time, I do.
I am hoping, as a tax payer, that the mastermind of this greediness will be punished. The lawmakers who stole our money should be probed. Justice and democracy will prevail. The current administration shouldn’t let this pass. The issue shouldn’t just fade away. We are waiting.
Sincerely, I am hoping that the very small voice of this blog can reach a thousand. Including those in the position. I am hoping that they realize, as what promised, we are the boss, and they are the servant. Our servant.
I believe that money is not root of evil, it is the love for money and the selfishness. But, stating the fact the pork became the source of corruption. I am calling: ABOLISH THE PORK BARREL!!!!
Reunite, don’t be afraid to let your voice heard. Jesus is love and so as we.