Wednesday, July 17, 2013

PORK Barrel, POLITICAL Dynasty, PEOPLE’s Initiative

Three of my last six articles in this column/blog had been devoted to the Battle Against Political Dynasty.  Two were on protecting the Philippine Archipelago through the use of unmanned vehicles.  One was on the surveillance programs of the NSA as revealed by fugitive NSA contractor Edward Snowden.  

Readers found them interesting because they are getting also the perspective of a barber, his clients who could be learned, sophisticated, of some ordinary or substantial means, and of course, me.  The topics also happened to be in the headlines when the columns were written.

Of all the responses or comments that I received on the Political Dynasty columns, there was one that caught my attention.  It came from Manuel Valdehuesa, a friend from a while back who has consistently advocated socio-political reforms for about half a century now.

He wrote, Actually this issue is intimately linked with the
‘Amass capital for elections, dynasty-building and self-enrichment.’

With an annual allocation of P200 M (half for "soft" Pork involving cash outlays, half for "hard" involving infrastructure) one term in the senate nets P1.2 billion ++ to play around with, tax-free and practically no accountability.

Same in the House though with only proliferation not only of dynasties but also of insurgency.  Imagine, from practically nothing, the front organizations of the NDF-CPP - collectively every year to subsidize their parliamentary/street-level operations, their armed depredations in provinces, and their collection of 'revolutionary" taxes and permit-to-campaign fees.

Meanwhile, relatives in government like the Cayetano and Ejercito siblings in the senate can buy all the votes they need with tax-free money and "contributions" which are actually loans payable during their terms. Pork and Dynasty are the twin issues causing dry rot in all local jurisdictions.”

This was before the news media headlined the involvement of “28 Philippine Solons Re Pork Barrel Scam.”  My barber and I agree with Manny Valdehuesa.  So do many of our readers and right thinking Filipinos!


Couched with high-sounding description, “Priority Development Assistance Fund” (PDAF), Filipino legislators are allocated large sums of the annual budget (P200M for each senator and P70M for each representative) to supposedly finance certain development projects of their choice (in the case of the senators) and/or in their districts (in the case of representatives).  The total allocation is about 25 billion pesos annually.

Most, if not all Filipinos, know that many of the legislators have always conspired with contractors, NGOs, and other beneficiaries of the PDAF so that a certain percentage of the allocation would be kicked back to the legislators.  The percentage ranges from 20-40 %.  At least, in this scenario, 60-80% are assumed to benefit the citizens even with less service and less quality for sure.

My barber describes the practice of sharing the pork as “bringing home the bacon”, “hamon pamasko”, “pulutang lechon kawali, crispy pata, or roasted pig.”  They are all great recipes for pork.  It initially benefited some members of the community; it eventually became an exclusive family affair.  Hence, the ardent desire for control – creating political dynasties.
To many of these legislators, greed and the uncontrollable desire for power and control have led them to ask for more.  Thus – resulting in the SCAM where the only beneficiaries are the legislators and the scammers.  ZERO percent went to citizens.  The latter became last priority in the development assistance funding.


Presidents always found it hard to give up this “pork barrel” practice because they use it as a leverage to extract concessions from Congress.  There are powers that only the legislature possesses that, at times, Presidents need to pursue their executive agenda.

There is rampant corruption because of pork barrel.  There is pork barrel in order to satisfy the cravings of a greedy Congress virtually controlled by political dynasties.  

Remove political dynasties as mandated by the Cory Constitution.  Remove pork barrel, which causes corruption and the proliferation of dynasties.  Use the People’s Initiative as an alternative to Congress.  The Cory Constitution provides it.  

“Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap.”  Reduce corruption and you reduce poverty.  Use the pork money in the battle against poverty.

To President Benigno Aquino III: you said it before and let me, as my barber would say, “repeat it again, once more, twice for the second and the nth time” regarding the importance of legislation – “There are enough laws in the Philippines.  We just have to enforce or execute them efficiently and effectively.”

Most importantly, the Cory Constitution provides a people-powered alternative to Congressional legislation.  It does not require pork barrel or paying off legislators.  The people would gladly invest with minimal effort – SIGNATURE.  The return would be tremendous – BRIGHT FUTURE.


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