The Pork Barrel

Pork Barrel 01In the Philippines, the term “pork barrel” is used to mean funds allocated to the members of the Philippine House of Representatives and the Philippine Senate to spend as they see fit without going through the normal budgetary process or through the Executive Branch. It can be used for both “hard” projects, such as buildings and roads, and “soft” projects, such as scholarships and medical expenses.

This pork barrel system was stopped by President Ferdinand Marcos during his dictatorship due to evidence of corruption growing in the House and Senate ranks. But not surprisingly, was reintroduced by President Corazon Aquino in 1986.The program has had different names over the years, including the Countryside Development Fund, Congressional Initiative Fund, and currently the Priority Development Assistance Fund. Since 2006, the PDAF was ₱70.0 M for each Representative and ₱200.0 M for each Senator.

During the presidency of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, PDAF seemed to be an ever-growing source of corruption among the legislators. Kickbacks were common and became syndicated—using pre-identified project implements including government agencies, contractors and bogus non-profit corporations as well as the government’s Commission on Audit.

In August 2013, outrage over the ₱10 B Priority Development Assistance Fund scam, involving Janet Lim-Napoles and numerous Senators and Representatives, led to widespread calls for abolition of the PDAF system. This also included the pork barrel funds of President Aquino that amounted to several billions of pesos. The so called Million People March which occurred on August 26, 2013, National Heroes’ Day in the Philippines, called for the end of “pork barrel” and was joined by simultaneous protests nationwide and by Filipinos from around the world.

Petitioners have challenged the constitutionality of the PDAF before the high court following reports of its widespread and systematic misuse by some members of Congress in cahoots with private individuals. Three incumbent senators and several former members of the House of Representatives have already been named respondents in a plunder complaint filed with the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with the alleged P10-billion pork barrel scam. But this is not enough. Public outrage over the anomaly has resulted in the largest protest gathering thus far, under the four-year-old Aquino administration.

In November 19, 2013 The Supreme Court declared the controversial Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), or more commonly known as the pork barrel, as unconstitutional. In a briefing, the high court declared the PDAF Article in 2013 General Appropriations Act and all similar provisions on the pork barrel system as illegal because it “allowed legislators to wield, in varying gradations, non-oversight, post-enactment authority in vital areas of budget executions (thus violating) the principle of separation of powers.”

Pork Barrel 02 On July 1st, 2014, the Philippine Supreme Court declared the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) unconstitutional along with The Priority Development Assistance Fund. This decision now places the President himself, along with most of his administration in the Legal system’s cross-hairs. On the same day, a militant labor group is now calling for the investigation of President Benigno Aquino III for authorizing the Disbursement Acceleration Program during his term.

In this humble writers opinion… Marcos was right. As for Cory bringing it back, It is quite obvious, to this day. It is nothing more than a source of income for the nations politicos. All the while, telling the people, “Not to worry because you will get your share.” Sorry folks… The trickle-down effect DOES NOT work.

Albert Anastasia

I'm just another ExPat enjoying life here in Asia. I am also having the time of my life exposing the ugly truth about the present Governmental administration of the Philippines. Especially that of current President "BS" Aquino. And the rest of his Liberal Party assholes.

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