Project PORK: A Comprehensive Opinion Post on PDAF

Finally.

I have left behind my notions of pork barrel as pork siomai.

Further research into pertinent headlines related to the current scandal have allowed me the opportunity to properly understand the issue at hand. This understanding has led to the formulation of an opinion, an opinion which I intend to share with you on this fine morning.

My stand on specific aspects of the issue will be divided accordingly, and discussed in detail. I would like to stress the fact that I do not intend to discuss the entire scandal comprehensively, and only want to stress particular points that proved to be of interest to me.

a. President Aquino’s “it’s time to abolish PDAF” speech 

The media did a very good job of emphasizing this particular line in Aquino’s speech that had one not read through the transcript of what he said, it would be very, very easy for one to believe that he was really abolishing the PDAF system when he wasn’t.

In his speech, there is no mention of taking specific action in formally removing the system. He simply says that it’s time to abolish PDAF, and that’s it. I am personally unaware of whether or not law/s do exist which include the mention of PDAF, but if such laws do exist, why is it that there is no mention of taking action to change these laws in order to permanently remove PDAFs for good?

b. Issues with the Proposed ‘Overhauled Pork’ 

Specific parts of the proposed overhauled pork are cited below with corresponding input with regards to their implementation.

” 1. We will continue the practice of requiring that projects to be funded come from a specific menu of qualified projects.” 

If the implementation of this new policy is to be made public, I hope that one of the things that will be made public along with the policy implementation will be the “specific menu of qualified projects” which the president speaks of. The companies handling these projects should  not be owned by government officials, and/or relatives of individuals in public office. If possible, the project proposals of these “qualified projects” should also be made public so that the public will be able to scrutinize the document for anomalies.

“2. They cannot include consumable soft projects, such as fertilizers, seeds, medicines, medical kits, dentures, funding for sports fests, training materials, and other such items—these projects whose results and impact we cannot conclusively identify, and who may only be ghost projects, used only as a source of income by the corrupt.”

I am confused. So what happens if a particular project will need medical kits, medicines and the like? Does this mean that that particular project will automatically not receive funding? The examples mentioned in this point seem to be valid aspects of community-based projects. Where will the projects which need these things get their money? Is the administration simply too lazy or too poor to monitor how these consumables are used? Is that why they have imposed such a restriction, because these things can be monitored properly.

c. What Trust? On The DBM 

The DBM has recently admitted having ‘clerical errors’ in their PDAF records. Noynoy’s proposed pork overhaul puts them in a powerful position. I may not be a taxpayer yet, but if there’s one thing I’m sure of it’s the fact that when I do become a taxpayer, I won’t be particularly comfortable having them handle the money that comes from the taxes I pay. Who knows what might happen to my taxes?

Refer to this article in order to see what I mean: http://www.interaksyon.com/article/69152/dbm-admits-more-mistakes-in-coa-audit-of-pdaf—while-distancing-then-sen–noynoy-from-pork-funds

d. Suspicious Money 

Source: http://www.rappler.com/nation/36607-special-purpose-funds-pork-barrel

The pork barrel is only a small part of the SPF (Special Purpose Funds). Budget watchdogs are pushing not just for the abolition of the pork barrel, but of the SPF as a whole.

The figures presented in the article above are quite questionable.

  • Pension and gratuity fund – P120.5 billion
  • Miscellaneous personnel benefits fund – P80.7 billion
  • Budgetary support to government corporations – P46.7 billion
  • Allocation to local government units – P19.7 billion

a. Why is it that the miscellaneous personnel benefits fund is even LARGER than the allocation to local government units?

b. Why is the pension and gratuity fund the largest among these four figures? (Is that why people are so eager to get into politics, because of the money?)

c. I would like a comprehensive financial report that shows me the specific areas where these funds go.

d. I would also like an explanation of these fund categories.

P.S. To a person well-versed in these issues that might come across this post,

I would like to apologize to you if my concerns may seem quite… trivial. Do know that I approach these issues as a layman, and as someone whose expertise does not exactly lie in this field of study. If some of my concerns seem matter of fact to you, do take the time to enlighten me further. It would be greatly appreciated. Thank You. 🙂

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