Pork barrel ‘revival’ stirs unrest

9

VARIOUS groups are poised to hold a massive rally to denounce the Aquino administration’s revival of the so-called pork barrel funds in the national budget despite previous rulings by the Supreme Court (SC) that declared these allocations as unconstitutional.

On November 30, Bonifacio Day, at least seven groups with at least 12,000 members will stage rallies at the Liwasang Bonifacio and Mendiola Bridge (Chino Roces Bridge) near Malacanang.

Anti-pork sentiments were revived by claims made by some lawmakers that the 2015 General Appropriations Bill (GAB) and the National Expenditure Program (NEP) of the executive are “riddled with pork.”

On Tuesday, former Rep. Augusto Syjuco of Iloilo asked the High Court to halt congressional deliberations on the GAB. Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago also lambasted the government for inserting huge “pork” funds in the budget and for reinventing the definition of “savings” which, according to critics, would open the door for the continuation of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) in a different form.


Around 12,000 protesters are expected to participate in the rally with the theme “Diwa ni Bonifacio, Tunay na Pagbabago!” that starts at 2 p.m. at the Liwasang Bonifacio and will end with a march to Mendiola bridge at 4 p.m.

Among the groups spearheading the protest action are the Abolishpork Movement, Pagbabago People’s Movement for Change, Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption, Babae Laban sa Katiwalian (BABALA), Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, Scrap Pork Network and Scrap the Pork Alliance.

“The proposed 2015 budget contains some P27.39 billion in congressional pork barrel funds tucked into various executive agencies while redefining the term ‘savings’ to allow the premature pooling of public funds deemed prohibited by the Supreme Court in its decision on DAP. Moreover, hundreds of billions worth of lump sum funds under the sole discretion of the President, dubbed presidential pork barrel, are also in the 2015 proposed budget,” the groups said in a joint statement issued on Wednesday.

“We are frustrated that despite high economic growth figures, poverty, landlessness, joblessness and hunger continue unabated. Majority of our people bear the brunt of high prices of even the most basic goods and utilities. Thousands have been rendered homeless not just by natural calamities but also by government policies that favor big corporate and big landlord interests over the rights of ordinary people,” it added.

Former Bayan Muna Rep. Teodoro Casino said Santiago was correct in claiming that “the proposed 2015 budget is riddled with pork barrel funds.”

“Based on the version approved by the House of Representatives as previously revealed by Rep. Antonio Tinio [of ACT party-list], pork barrel allocations for congressmen are up by 32 percent from P20.76 billion in 2014 to P27.39 billion in 2015,” Casino noted.

“This means that each congressman will get around P94.44 million in congressional pork in 2015, which is higher than the traditional PDAF allocation of P70 million per congressman,” he stressed.

Based on their own study, the militant leader said “pork” is tucked in as line item budgets in the Department of Public Works and Highways Local Infrastructure Program, P18.37 billion; Department of Social Welfare and Development Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services, P3.64 billion; Commission on Higher Education and State Universities and Colleges Tulong Dunong Program, P2.46 billion; Department of Health Assistance to Indigent Patients, P1.76 billion; Department of Labor and Employment Government Internship Program and Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged Workers “TUPAD” Project, P611.7 million; and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority Special Training for Employment Program , P543.3 million.

“Just like the PDAF, these funds are pre-allocated to each district and party list group and their release are subject to referrals or recommendations by the congressmen. This discreet system is their way of going around the Supreme Court decision which essentially abolished PDAF as an item in the national budget,” Casino said.

He added that the bulk of the pork barrel goes to the executive, estimated to be around P958 billion in special purpose funds, unprogrammed funds and lump-sum appropriations whose release is upon the sole discretion of the President and his appointees.

Among the presidential “pork” items are: Budgetary Support to GOCCs, P61.3 billion; assistance to local government units, P33.1 billion; Risk Management Program, P30 billion; support for infrastructure projects and social programs, P20 billion; unprogrammed funds, P123 billion; Miscellaneous Personnel Benefit Fund, P118 billion; Grassroots Participatory Budgeting, P20.9 billion and Pamana program, P7.3 billion.

With the redefinition of savings as proposed by Malacanang and approved by the House, Syjuco claimed that the entire budget becomes the President’s pork barrel “since he will now be allowed, DAP-style, to declare billions in savings in the middle of the year for realignment to his or his allies’ pet projects.”

“Clearly, President Aquino and his friends in Congress could not help themselves in dipping their dirty fingers in the cookie jar. The big question now is, can the Senate resist the same temptation or will it also bow down to the wishes of the Palace?” he asked.

Share.
.
Loading...

Please follow our commenting guidelines.

9 Comments

  1. Vicente Penetrante on

    Those in favor, those against; in Congress majority wins even if the minority makes more sense. “What are we in power for?”

  2. Raymond Stenhouse on

    Pork barrelling will diminish the Christian life in the Philippines. If the Government continue to plunder the peoples money and leave them with out work homeless with no water electricity and sewerage. Then the Islamist will come along with limitless money and say we will give you money to feed yourself and have a decent living for your family as long as you devote your lives to Islam. Unfortunately its a no brainer for staving Filipinos you stave and die early from low quality food water and medical attention or get the gifts from non pork barrel Islamist. If the powerful Filipino churches don’t step in and stop this corrupt plundering they will lose their flock.

  3. The SC has ruled already that pork barrel is unconstitutional. So, why did BS Aquino, aided by his ever-loyal sidekick Butch Abad, inserted billions of pesos of pork barrel again in the 2015 budget? Simple. Aquino has to keep his porkers in Congress well-greased with taxpayers money to keep their loyalty, otherwise they’ll impeach him. This Aquino administration is one of the most corrupt regimes we ever had; a big chunk of our budget under BS Aquino goes to the pockets of his political allies. Kawawang bayan!

  4. What i cant understand is how can the government spend money ( which it has to do for the country ) on projects without it being called pork barrel. Because if they do projects that senators or anyone wants for the betterment of the country & the people when & how is it not pork barrel. You may all understand it but i dont & i wish someone would explain it to me as no one where i live understands it.

  5. Political patronage is the real motive in the new budget. And is easily approved by the Congress because of that reason. Again that huge government money will trickle down to the pockets of the legislators and their cohorts in the executive and private contractors and not to the poor Juan Dela Cruzes. Pork Barrel system is the work of evil geniuses in our present government system. At present, not afraid of God and Karma but let’s hope they will face their own justice when times comes God gives the final judgement on everybody.

  6. P. Akialamiro@yahoo.com on

    With all the oppositions against the pork, this administration will get its way, the only conclusion will be: “we all deserved this kind of government and the leadership we have.” If we go down the ‘drain’, so be it.

  7. Stirs, sa tagalog nambobola ka lang!
    Ang pinoy pagod at busing-busy kung paano hahanap ng makakain sa araw-araw,baka hindi nila nasisilip o nababasa angpinagsasabi natin!
    Ang iniisip nila kahit sino ang ilagay mo sa puesto parang replay lang!
    Inalis na kasi natin ang pagtuturo ng good manners and right conduct at dignidad!
    Kung sino pa ang mga elite at mga may pinag-aral at mayroon sa buhay, siya pa ang bumabali ng batas at nagtuturo para magnakaw!
    Lahat ng nasa gobyerno ay maypinag-aralan, mga cum laude pa!at sa mga pari pa ang guro!

  8. To Dante Jimenez, Casiple, Bello, Zarate, Bayan and some Leftists, why are you quiet about the Binays’ corruption? The people never heard any single word from you guys about the “open secret” (how can the binays afford all the luxuries like an elevator in their house for example) corruption of the Binays. Where did they get all the money that they have amassed (from the people’s money-taxes).