Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Pork Barrel SideBar: Burning Unnecessary Fats

Greed allures one to obliviously live in the allegory of the cave, making one forget the beauty of light, authenticity, and freedom...

Janet Lim-Napoles is in the ridiculous conflict of being a victim, a medium, and a beneficiary. Whatever the real story is, the result of her choices and actions is just about to unfold.

Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) is so hefty for a body whose task is primarily and generally to make laws. For me, PDAF should be abolished. The budget must be wisely rechannelled directly to the LGUs, educ/health/youth/livelihood/environmental projects, and marginalized groups and legit cooperatives of farmers and fishermen. Provided, there is a wise set of standard and safeguards for the budget allocation, project execution monitoring, and post-execution evaluation... Sadly, legislative is the one which can pass or approve such bills.

Whatever we say now, our remedy to our political diseases is found in elections itself. This is one of the reasons why we should know very well the candidates for public office and vote very wisely during elections.

For now, we are just spectators of the political exhibition and acrobatics.


The Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF)
Ø  a lump-sum appropriation in the annual General Appropriations Act to fund the priority development programs and projects of the government; popularly known as “pork barrel”

Pork Barrel
Ø political largesse

Ø spending is subjective as opposed to “earmark”, which is an objective determination

Ø spending which is intended to benefit constituents of a politician in return for their political support, either in the form of campaign contributions or votes.

Ø originated in a pre-Civil War practice of giving slaves a barrel of salt pork as a reward and requiring them to compete among themselves to get their share of the handout. A barrel of salt pork was a common larder item in 19th century households, and could be used as a measure of the family's financial well-being (1919, Chester Collins Maxey).

Soft Pork Barrel
Ø non-infrastructure projects that are more in the vein of financial assistance like scholarships and livelihood programs.

Hard Pork Barrel
Ø projects or infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges, school buildings, and the like.

House of Representatives (each Congressman, yearly)
Soft Pork Barrel Project: P30 million
Hard Pork Barrel Project: P40 million

Senate (each Senator, yearly)
Soft Pork Barrel Project: P100 million
Hard Pork Barrel Project: P100 million

Choices of Projects:
 1.        Education – scholarships
 2.        Arts and culture
 3.        Health – financial assistance to indigent patients, purchase of medical equipment
 4.        Livelihood/ social services
 5.        Housing
 6.        Rural electrification
 7.        Irrigation
 8.        Water supply – construction of water system, installation of pipes/pumps/tanks
 9.        Financial assistance – for specific programs and projects of LGUs
10.       Public works – roads, bridges, flood control, school buildings, hospitals, health facilities, public markets, multi-purpose buildings and pavements
11.       Peace and order – purchase of firetrucks and firefighting equipment, patrol vehicles, prisoners’ vans, multicabs, police patrol equipment, construction/repair of fire stations, police stations, jails
12.       Forest management