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Just like today, appointive positions then were the preserve of the party in power. That’s the same thing as the pork barrel. The Minority Opposition creates what is known as a Shadow Cabinet which is composed of leaders and senior members of the coalition or party that leads the opposition minority bloc, who will take on “shadow ministerial positions” and are each assigned to follow the official Government Cabinet’s own ministers around in each of their ministry’s meetings. Just talk to most Visayans, Mindanaoans, Bangsamoros, Cordillerans, Bicolanos, and even many Ilocanos, and you’ll realize that the concept has a lot of followers and supporters. Any anomalous transactions can easily be exposed as the Opposition is always watching whatever the Government does and raises questions  every week. Moreover, in the Philippines, while the big guns get the lion’s share of the pork, legislators don’t have to fight over it. But one can see the elements of conspiracy—the legislator, the government agency, and the contractor acting in collusion. During the presidency of Fidel V. Ramos (1992-1998), it was known as the Countrywide Development Fund (CDF). Does getting rid of the pork barrel alone work? Evolving Federalism: Empower the Regions, Develop the Countryside. One, it gives the executive branch tremendous leverage over the legislature, which is supposed to provide checks and balances (the executive branch can withhold the pork). Superior check and balance as the Shadow Cabinet regularly scrutinizes the Government’s Cabinet and their decisions and actions. Then let’s not just look at symptoms. These Everyone seems to be screaming about the need to abolish the Pork Barrel, which today bears the official name “Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). But pork-barrel spending is a form of corruption, where tax dollars are dolled (sic) out on the basis of political favoritism and to advance the careers of Washington insiders.”. Hadn’t they heard of “Meet the People” or “Townhall” Sessions that happen where representatives regularly meet with the people they represent in their own districts for Q&A’s and  thus gain the necessary input they need for privilege speeches and for discussions and debate in the legislature? It takes a little more effort, but only just a little: The legislators reportedly tell the government agency involved who they want as contractors or project implementers. Clearly, using the Pork Barrel does not develop the countryside. Fix the system, all 3 aspects of it. The “pork barrel system” of lump sum grants to members of the Philippines Congress to fund a list of community-based or small-scale infrastructure projects that would be implemented by local public agencies was revived during President orazon Aquino’s administration. Being healthy often means not being prone to disease which often requires people to take medicines which could have other undesirable side effects. Aside from having no issue of gridlock as parliamentary systems do not feature a separation of the executive and the legislative branches, they also feature a superior, more transparent, and more accountable means of checks and balance. Rather than “redistributing taxpayers’ money across the country”, why not “redistribute economic opportunities” by giving the regions the authority and the ability to attract investments themselves? Clearly, using the Pork Barrel does not develop the countryside. Federalism actually isn’t that difficult to sell as a concept. More jobs for Filipinos means more Filipinos earning salaries which means less need for Pork Barrel. Surely, everyone understands this to be a disaster. However, taking that pill gives you rashes, although it does solve – to an extent – that other symptom you originally had. All it takes for evil to triumph…. Worse, it is so susceptible to corruption and political patronage. And do not tax my patience by saying that not all legislators are involved. We need to get rid of the reasons why the pork barrel was thought of as a palliative “quick-fix”  in the first place. Liver Cancer and Cirrhosis. Why are the Monsods so anti-Constitutional Reform? Without the pork barrel fund, the Executive would simply be unable to get the legislature agreeing with it, and both branches could end up going in different directions. There’s simply less need for Pork Barrel funds once the problems of massive unemployment and poverty are addressed by economic liberalization. It simply makes people in the countryside more likely to develop a mendicant attitude of dependence on dole-outs. But now, the rashes are getting to you, and you feel that it’s not worth the trouble. Lee Kuan Yew’s Speech at the Philippine Business Conference, Nápoles & Pork Barrel: It’s the Lousy System, Foreigner: Pinoy Inability to Improve is due to Escapism. 2. One, it gives the executive branch tremendous leverage over the legislature, which is supposed to provide checks and balances (the executive branch can withhold the pork). The Philippines, sad to say, uses a Presidential System. It is presently known as … Presidential or Parliamentary – Does it Make a Difference? The Legislature may want to do something, but the Executive may block it. Wrote Patricio Diaz in a column for MindaNews: The spoil system originated from American politics. Lee Kuan Yew on Filipinos and the Philippines, Rizal the Federalist; Bonifacio the Unitarian, Rediscovering the Advantages of Federalism. Polls aren’t just for Metro Manila: Why Federalism? Notice, Reader, that the benefits accrue to individuals; the costs are borne by society. The Priority Development Assistance Fund scam, also called the PDAF scam or the pork barrel scam, is a political scandal involving the alleged misuse by several members of the Congress of the Philippines of their Priority Development Assistance Fund, a lump-sum discretionary fund granted to each member of Congress for spending on priority development projects of the Philippine government, mostly on the … We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Protesters, responding to a call to wear white, converged on Manila’s largest park angry at the misuse of “pork barrel” funds under the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). He forgets that he was receiving all kinds of goodies from friends with government contracts. Economic Liberalization through Constitutional Reform and the repeal of numerous anti-FDI laws aims to get rid of the primary showstopper that prevents numerous multinational corporations and foreign direct investors from easily coming into the Philippines to set up offices, factories, and other operations that would have created millions of opportunities for gainful employment for locally-based Filipinos. We must address Root Causes, not just Symptoms. The following are the problems that the institution of the Pork Barrel intends, rightly or wrongly,  to fix: 1. Nancy Binay – Don’t hate the player, hate the game! While the Majority bloc will assign their most senior leader to be the Prime Minister and the other leaders and senior members to be Ministers heading each of the Ministries, the Minority will do the same. As the Philippines is a developing nation that can ill-afford delays and showstoppers caused by gridlock, many leaders in the past sought a means of mitigating this debilitating feature of the Presidential System. And Gridlock is wasteful and unproductive. Constitutional Reform First before claiming Sabah! DISTRIBUTING OPPORTUNITIES TO THE COUNTRYSIDE, When the regions who form the “Countryside” are much more capable of fending for themselves economically, what need is there for the Pork Barrel as a means of “redistributing funds?”, 3. And PNoy answered:“ I am open for having a second term.“ That’s one of the key selling points of Federalism. Sadly, the palliative remedy that is the Pork Barrel which was originally envisioned so that the executive could get the legislature’s cooperation has spawned a lot more evil side-effects than benefits. Call 896 6000. True. And we must eliminate (or at least reduce) the root problems that cause the executive to need to rely upon pork barrel funds as a means to elicit the legislature’s cooperation. To find out more, please click this link. While the pork barrel can be used favorably , supporters o f the abolition point out that the pork barrel system is generally anomalous as legislators could easily manipulate their PDAF spending to pursue self interest and not the public interest. As such, it is necessary to solve these systemic issues from their roots at the underlying “system level.”, How to truly get rid of the PDAF Pork Barrel Fund. Basically, the politician tries to benefit his/her constituents in order to maintain their support and vote. Answer: Countrywide Development Fund, In other words, part of the intention for the Pork Barrel was to “distribute funds from the national coffers to localities in the countryside.” In defense of the Pork Barrel fund, you might have read comments about the need to “assist local communities through special funding” or “redistribute wealth to the rest of the country through various local projects.”. Perhaps it is time to take a big picture view of what could be the root cause of that symptom. And what are the costs? Two, it gives incumbent legislators an unfair advantage over their electoral opponents, because of the projects (if successfully implemented) they bring, or the money (if pocketed) they can use to buy votes. To use an analogy, imagine that you are taking a pill that is supposed to solve a particular symptom you are experiencing. Simply removing the “supply” by abolishing the pork barrel fund will not work, since the demand will continue. The Executive may want to do something, but the Legislature may block it. Apparently, far too many Filipino leaders didn’t think that legislators are supposed to concentrate on legislation – i.e. And it continues to flourish, in spite of the fact that its costs are much greater than its benefits. Sen. Enrile Solidly Supports Parliamentarism, Better quality & highly competent leaders. When people earn their own salaries, there is less need for them to ask for largesse and less need for them to ask elected officials and other politicians to help them out with “donations”, fiesta-funding, funerals, baptisms, weddings, and special “projects.”. Because those side-effects will prompt us to find other band-aid quick-fixes to fix those side-effects and they too will have their own side-effects, and so on and so forth. There must be a promotion of greater transparency in the use of pork barrel funds. Greater transparency as the Opposition can question the Government during the numerous Question Periods and parliamentary debates. Clean hands. This became the key rationale for institutionalizing the Pork Barrel fund. Heath and sanitation instead of ‘pork barrel’ While reviewing the recent reports on China’s alternate “cultural revolution,” it struck me that the Philippines could also do itself a world of good if it commits to its own “toilet revolution.” The solution to the pork barrel issue is not abrogation but greater accountability, transparency, and rationality in its utilization. Pork barrel politics affect the economy in several ways. Bottomline: Since Parliamentary Systems fuse the legislature and executive together and thus do not have gridlock, then there would be no need for a Pork Barrel fund to entice the legislature to cooperate with the executive. … Going back to the health analogy, for many people, simply exercising, eating well (having fruit / vegetables / avoiding too much fat), not smoking, drinking lots of water, sleeping well, and just keeping healthy are enough to avoid many health problems that affect many people. ABS-CBN’s award-winning public affairs program “The Bottomline With Boy Abunda” will discuss the effects of the priority development assistance fund (PDAF) or pork barrel in the system of politics in the Philippines this Saturday (September 28). 2. The Pork Barrel fund was meant to “solve” a few problems. So you stop taking the pill. Orion first achieved fame as one of the most remembered and most impressive  among the winners of the popular RPN-9 Quiz Show “Battle of the Brains”, and got a piece he wrote – “The Parable of the Mountain Bike” – featured in Bob Ong’s first bestselling compilation of essays “Bakit Baligtad Magbasa ng Libro ang mga Pilipino?” He is the principal co-founder of the CoRRECT™ Movement and spearheads the campaign to inform the Filipino Public about the urgent need for Constitutional Reform & Rectification for Economic Competitiveness & Transformation. Orion Pérez Dumdum comes from an IT background and analyzes the Philippine situation the way he analyzes IT systems: logically and objectively. That the people’s money is either being diverted into private pockets or is being used for projects whose net benefits have not been compared to, much less been found greater than, those that could accrue to alternative uses, is of fundamental concern. Should the Philippines Turn Parliamentary? 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2020-12-08T10:27:08+00:00