New mechanism, same animal: PORK. Abolish the pork barrel system.

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Pagbabago Statement:

We reject the announced so-called abolition of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) by Malacañang. The announcement is meant to douse cold water on Monday’s protest calling for the abolition of all pork.

Giving the PDAF a new name or introducing a new mechanism by which the fund can be accessed by Congressmen does not abolish the pork barrel system allotted to legislators. Meanwhile, the Aquino administration remains deaf, blind and mum on what many critics call the much bigger Presidential pork barrel.

Whether Congressional or Presidential, the pork barrel is designed for patronage politics and lends itself to graft and corruption, wastage and misprioritization. It is composed of funds allocated and disbursed at the discretion of whoever controls it. It goes to the pet projects of the President and his executive officials as well as his political allies in Congress and local government units. It does not go to the real priority and development needs of the people.

The “new pork” is itemized pork to be proposed by legislators, and shall be approved by the Executive. The disbursement of the fund is now at the mercy of the Executive, reverting to the old mechanism wherein the legislators would have to lobby to the Budget Department and the Office of the President for the incorporation of their pet projects in the National Expenditure Program submitted to Congress. It is modeled after the “palakasan” system, and only the favored ones shall get served their the pork. The President ends up consolidating his hold on Congress and reinforcingthe well-entrenched system of patronage politics.

The “menu” or the criteria for the approval of release of funds does not indicate that the funds shall benefit the people. In fact, it could still be diverted to projects that serve as rackets to both the legislators and government agencies. Without a clear fixed amount, the “new pork” would only end up an expanded PDAF. It will still breed graft and corruption.

Lump sum funds that are at least ten times the size of the PDAF and at the sole discretion of the Office of the President, are similarly used for political patronage and are extremely susceptible to corruption of plunder proportions. With the “new pork” now at the discretion of the President, it becomes a “fattener” to Presidential pork.

The statement of President Benigno Aquino on the pork barrel sidetracks the issue of graft and corruption that is rampant under the pork barrel system. It is an attempt to mislead the people that this system is being abolished when it is not. It aims to dissuade the people from joining mass protests such as the one on August 26.

But we are not easily fooled. The PDAF could be given a new name and mechanism but it is still the same detestable pork barrel.

Our calls remain: Abolish the pork barrel system all the way to the Office of the President and channel the funds to subsidize education, health services, mass housing, disaster prevention and mitigation and other public services. We stand firm. Let us all unite in action on August 26.

*On August 26, 9 am, PAGBABAGO People’s Movement will march from PGH-Taft Avenue going to the Rizal Park

We reject the announced so-called abolition of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) by Malacañang. The announcement is meant to douse cold water on Monday’s protest calling for the abolition of all pork.

Giving the PDAF a new name or introducing a new mechanism by which the fund can be accessed by Congressmen does not abolish the pork barrel system allotted to legislators. Meanwhile, the Aquino administration remains deaf, blind and mum on what many critics call the much bigger Presidential pork barrel.

Whether Congressional or Presidential, the pork barrel is designed for patronage politics and lends itself to graft and corruption, wastage and misprioritization. It is composed of funds allocated and disbursed at the discretion of whoever controls it. It goes to the pet projects of the President and his executive officials as well as his political allies in Congress and local government units. It does not go to the real priority and development needs of the people.

The “new pork” is itemized pork to be proposed by legislators, and shall be approved by the Executive. The disbursement of the fund is now at the mercy of the Executive, reverting to the old mechanism wherein the legislators would have to lobby to the Budget Department and the Office of the President for the incorporation of their pet projects in the National Expenditure Program submitted to Congress. It is modeled after the “palakasan” system, and only the favored ones shall get served their the pork. The President ends up consolidating his hold on Congress and reinforcingthe well-entrenched system of patronage politics.

The “menu” or the criteria for the approval of release of funds does not indicate that the funds shall benefit the people. In fact, it could still be diverted to projects that serve as rackets to both the legislators and government agencies. Without a clear fixed amount, the “new pork” would only end up an expanded PDAF. It will still breed graft and corruption.

Lump sum funds that are at least ten times the size of the PDAF and at the sole discretion of the Office of the President, are similarly used for political patronage and are extremely susceptible to corruption of plunder proportions. With the “new pork” now at the discretion of the President, it becomes a “fattener” to Presidential pork.

The statement of President Benigno Aquino on the pork barrel sidetracks the issue of graft and corruption that is rampant under the pork barrel system. It is an attempt to mislead the people that this system is being abolished when it is not. It aims to dissuade the people from joining mass protests such as the one on August 26.

But we are not easily fooled. The PDAF could be given a new name and mechanism but it is still the same detestable pork barrel.

Our calls remain: Abolish the pork barrel system all the way to the Office of the President and channel the funds to subsidize education, health services, mass housing, disaster prevention and mitigation and other public services. We stand firm. Let us all unite in action on August 26.

*On August 26, 9 am, PAGBABAGO People’s Movement will march from PGH-Taft Avenue going to the

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