• PDAF by any other name. . . .

    3

    The protest rally, dubbed A Million People’s March, is proceeding as scheduled despite the announcement made that the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), more popularly known as pork barrel, is being abolished.

    Immediately following the announcement, the social media exploded with comments ridiculing and condemning the idea. It is meant, netizens claim, to dissipate the gale-force wind that threatens the very existence of this administration.

    No. The hate object is not President Benigno Aquino 3rd but the legislators who appropriated government funds for their own aggrandizement. If he is being criticized it is for the obvious attempt to mollify the legislators by coming up with a modified version of, instead of truly scrapping, the pork barrel.

    And so the rally will push through at the Quirino Grandstand on Aug. 26, with sympathy movements in Cebu, Davao, Baguio, Cagayan de Oro, and outside the country, in Los Angeles, Hong Kong, and in other places where there is a high concentration of Filipino expatriates.

    The crime is so brazen and the perpetrators so callous. The legislators did it all in the name of the poor. A favorite dupe are marginal farmers, with Kaupdanan para sa Mangunguma Foundation [Prosperity for Farmers Foundation] as an egregious example. Another are calamity victims, as in the diversion of the P900 million Malampaya Oil Fund to People’s Organization for Progress and Development Foundation Inc.

    Oh the good old days when senators and congressmen were satisfied to get 20 percent to 30 percent commission from a project! The project got done, although substantial. Things are different now.

    The legislators sign over their PDAF allocations to non-government organizations (NGOs), which are to implement poverty amelioration projects. There are no projects though. The request of the mayors and governors for assistance that start the process are fake, and the signatures of the supposed beneficiaries are forged.

    According to state witnesses five senators, in collusion with Janet Lim Napoles, employed this scheme: Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada, Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., Vicente Sotto 3rd, and Lito Lapid.

    Once the PDAF allocation was released to the NGO, the witnesses added, Mrs, Napoles had the money withdrawn, remitted 70 percent to the legislator and kept the rest.

    Still, the 70-30 sharing did not satisfy other legislators. Why give part of the money to anybody, when they could have it all?

    Former Congressman Matias Defensor Jr. of Quezon City signed over P90 million of his pork barrel allocation to a family owned NGO, the Matias Defenfor Sr. Foundation. He in effect awarded government money to himself.

    Not to be outdone in chicanery, former Senator Edgardo Angara did the same thing, albeit with a much smaller amount: P14.6 million.

    Chair Grace Pulido-Tan of the Commission on Audit said P12 billion was dissipated this way.

    Another pretext is scholarship grants. If what senators and congressmen claim were true, there would be enough college scholarship grants for all graduating high school students. But the fact is that only state universities and colleges (SUCs) extend scholarship grants, and only to very few students and they must sweat it out first.

    If legislators used their PDAF to augment SUC budget, there would have been no Kristel Tejada, who begged for the release of her P10,000 tuition loan and, failing to get it, committed suicide.

    That makes reform—nobody believes there is any intention to abolish it—of the PDAF suspect. It includes scholarship grants, among so-called soft projects that legislators can continue to identify for financing, along with livelihood and jobs creation program, and the delivery of health services.

    President Aquino could safely ignore criticism hurled against him by his political enemies. Not this time. It is his own supporters who are voicing dissatisfaction, the very people who have propelled him to victory.

    He had better be careful. Or he would find himself isolated, if not exactly despised like his predecessor.

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    3 Comments

    1. The True Reform is when the Tongressman, Senatong, can work hard even the PDAF is scrap or abolish we can say its service. Because as long as the Pork or Baboy Is there many plastic politician will run to become rich. So to Benigno Aquino 3rd our loud noise is a warning that if you do not abolish, the Pork even here in the Middle East are already tired and sick of your joke during your Inauguration speech. BATTLECRY or SLOGAN. Kung Walang Kurap, Walang Mahirap. So let’s rephrase to know the truth. Kung Maraming Kurap Di Maraming mahirap. PNOY ikaw ang nagsabi niyan.

    2. It’s a DUCK . . . .

      Filipino politicians are the most creative people in the planet.

      We got the term “pork barrel” from the Americans. While American
      politicians use pork barrel funds to finance local projects for the benefit
      of their constituents in return for their political support, their Filipino
      counterparts are using it for personal gain in return for the money they
      spent in the election.

      Because pork barrel is a derogatory term, Filipino politicians changed
      the name to Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), thus giving
      an old dog a new collar.

      Politicians come up with different plans or strategies to acquire and
      protect their investment. They tend to flock to each other and heed to
      each other’s advice to find looplholes.

      Amid public outrage over the recent alleged PDAF (pork barrel) scandal
      and clamor for the abolition of pork barrel system, the Aquino Administration
      has suggested a more restrictive modified version instead of entirely scrapping.

      “PDAF by any other name. . . “? If it looks like a duck, walks like, and quacks
      like a duck, it should be a duck. If not, I wonder what it is!

    3. Rosauro Feliciano on

      What? Is the President serious about his calling to abolish pork? I have a second thought about the true meaning of what he is telling us. Read again his statement and you will have a second thought. I have a mix feeling about the sincerity of his announcement. As for what I understand about his calling to abolish pork is similar to the master piece of Leonardo da Vinci’s Monalisa. There could be a hidden meaning of what he is telling us. In the past I predicted that the ex-President Gloria would be prosecuted and that the Chief Justice would be as well prosecuted and all came true. The only prediction that is still in the making is the Marcos’ invisibility to prosecution. However, it is in progress and many will be surprised that the barriers to such invisibility will be broken eventually before the end of this administration. So the pork barrel will not be entirely abolished, as it will only be refined. In other words, the pork will stay in the form of another name.