mad as hell

August 26, 2013 at 9:53 am 6 comments


photo credit: philstar.com

it’s the 118th anniversary of the day when our filipino forefathers rose up in arms against their colonial spanish masters. it has since been declared national heroes day, a holiday observed throughout the philippines.

today’s celebration may prove to be historic as it coincides with the first massive filipino protest against the administration of president benigo aquino iii. it was triggered by a local paper’s exposé of the ten billion peso scam that made the people real mad. it involved several filipino legislators and their pork barrels and businesswoman janet lim-napoles.

the goal of the protest is the removal of the pork barrel from the national budget. president aquino’s promise to abolish PDAF, which is the current process for managing the pork barrel funds, doesn’t cut it. instead of appeasing the protesters, it has only angered them more.

what is the pork barrel?

pork barrel is defined by wikepedia as “the appropriation of government spending for localized projects secured solely or primarily to bring money to a representative’s district.” in the philippines, each senator receives an annual allocation of 200 million pesos and each congressman 70 million pesos which they can use at their discretion.

since its inception, the pork barrel has become the mother of all corruption. it has been used by filipino legislators to enrich themselves in office. by exploiting loopholes and circumventing standard practices, they siphon off the funds for their own personal use.

the modus operandi

first, the senator or congressman will identify projects that would supposedly benefit his or her constituents and submit them to the department of budget and management for approval.

once the projects have been approved, they are subjected to public bidding, but it’s just a formality. the results are always predetermined for the legislator’s preferred bidder such as a bogus foundation operated by janet lim-nNapoles.

the funds are then released to the bogus foundation and the money get divvy up between the legislator and his cospirators. it’s been easy money all the way.

billions of taxpayers money that should have gone to social, insfrasture and livelihood projects are thus wasted away. it’s small wonder that the filipino people are on the verge of rebellion.

the president’s response

according to latest news, president aquino has vowed “to identify and hold accountable those who have conspired to besmirch what is otherwise a noble cause that is PDAF.”

“we will not allow anyone to be manipulated to feed on the greed of a few. we strive to make sure that the mistakes of the past won’t happen again to ensure the proper spending of the people’s money,” he added.

so far, the senators and congressmen implicated in the scam have pleaded their innocence. janet lim-napoles did, too, but now she and his brother have gone hiding.

as of this writing, it’s estimated that over a hundred thousand Filipinos have joined the demonistration at luneta park, manila. i may not be there, but i’m there in spirit.

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Entry filed under: Blogroll, commentary, filipino, philippines, weekly writing challenge. Tags: , , , .

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6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. The Rambling Philosopher  |  August 28, 2013 at 2:45 am

    The root of the problem isn’t the pork barrel itself. It’s the corrupt politicians who used it to fund themselves instead of funding legitimate projects that are directed at improving the lives of our people and the state of our country. Even if PDAF is successfully abolished, the corrupt politicians would just find or create another huge project from which they can steal money from.

    PDAF by nature, is for a really good cause. It was made for us, that’s why we pay our taxes for this. It’s just too bad that it’s being handled by people who are after their interests more than the interests of the Filipino people. What’s worse is that most of the time, they get away with it. There are few good politicians out there but the system is just so messed up. It’s just sad that we can’t easily “abolish” corrupt politicians. There’s just too many of them and they often protect each other because in implicating someone corrupt, they risk implicating themselves too. 😦

    Reply
    • 2. plaridel  |  August 28, 2013 at 1:17 pm

      the rambling philosopher:

      your point is well-taken.

      a columnist has pointed out, the solution is simple. it’s to follow the constitution.

      as our constitution states, the three branches of our government have clear functions, i.e., the executive to execute the law, the legislative to make the law, and the judiciary to interpret the law.

      under this scenario, our senators and congressmen should concentrate on what they should be doing and get their hands off the PDAF or whatever its successor would be.

      Reply
      • 3. The Rambling Philosopher  |  August 31, 2013 at 3:41 am

        What that columnist said makes perfect sense. If only our officials concentrated on doing their real jobs and honestly as well. our system wouldn’t have been as bad as it is now. Though, this is easier said than done. There is such a big web of lies and deceit in our government. It’s sad. :/

        Reply
        • 4. plaridel  |  August 31, 2013 at 7:50 am

          the rambling philosopher:

          if it’s any consolation, it happens in other countries, too. 😦

          Reply
          • 5. The Rambling Philosopher  |  August 31, 2013 at 8:28 am

            Yeah. It’s everywhere, I guess. Tsk. The things people would do for money and power. 😦

            Reply
            • 6. plaridel  |  August 31, 2013 at 10:57 am

              the rambling philosopher:

              i know. i always try to find the zen in everything that happens, but this time i’m having a hard time.

              Reply

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