Welcome to Las Vegas, Nevada- the Gambling Capital of US and the City that never sleeps! So, what has this city have to do with this site. The answer is none. I just love the photo, I took during our vacation to this city a couple of years ago. In this site, you will find articles from my autobiography, global warming, senior citizens issues, tourism, politics in PI, music appreciation and articles about our current experiences as retirees enjoying the "snow bird" lifestyle between US and the Philippines. Your comments will be highly appreciated. Please do not forget to read the latest national and international news. Some of the photos and videos on this site, I do not own. However, I have no intention on infringement of your copyrights. Cheers!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Elimination of the Pork Barrel-should be Aquino's Top Priority

Here is the latest posting in the Philippine Inquirer about the Pork Barrel. I hope this will be the top priority of the Aquino's administration. The pork barrel is the major source of corruption in the Philippines.

"People voted for Noynoy because he promised change. His priority, he said, is to eliminate corruption. He vowed to bring the corrupt to justice, especially GMA and her allies who helped her commit the abuses of her administration.

Which brings us back to the subject of the pork barrel. Pork is very bad not only for the health but also for the morals of the people, especially people in the government. The pork barrel is one of the principal causes of corruption that Noynoy promised to eradicate. The first thing he should do to eradicate corruption, therefore, is to abolish the pork barrel.

The pork system is an anomaly. It is not allowed by the Constitution, and generations of taxpayers have asked all the presidents to abolish it, but presidents let it stay because it is a convenient way to keep the congressmen in line. When they become uncooperative, all the president has to do is to freeze the release of pork-barrel allocations and the congressmen suddenly see the light and cooperate.

The pork barrel is a terrible waste of taxpayers’ money. The fund is used by legislators to pay for public works and other projects in their districts. But only half of the project’s budget goes to the project itself. The rest is kicked back by the contractor to the congressman, public works and other government officials down the line.

That is why congressmen go into contortions to defend the pork-barrel system. “We have the power of the purse” is a common refrain, meaning they have the power to appropriate anything, including the corrupt pork barrel.

False. Congress cannot appropriate anything that is not in the budget prepared by the Executive Department. So all the Executive Department has to do is not to include any Countrywide Development Fund or Priority Development Assistance or any other disguised fund in the budget submitted to Congress. Congress cannot legally add any appropriation that is not suggested by the Executive.

Also, legislators, national and local, cannot increase their own salaries. This is to prevent abuse. But they go around the ban by concocting all sorts of allowances for themselves.

The most abundant source of corrupt money is the public works project which can cost, on the average, hundreds of millions of pesos each. These are the roads and bridges, schoolhouses, health clinics, textbooks, social halls, etc. that rise with billboards proclaiming that “This is a project of Congressman so-and-so.” Thus, the congressman becomes another Department of Public Works and Highways. Constructing public works projects is the job of the DPWH, not of the congressmen. The job of congressmen is to enact laws. Read the Constitution and you will not find any provision authorizing congressmen to be a duplicate DPWH. Because of the pork barrel, the legislators are usurping the functions of the DPWH.

The pork-barrel system should be abolished but it is instead spreading. The Quezon City Council has appropriated P43 million a year in pork for each councilor. There are six councilors for each of the city’s four districts. So do the arithmetic. And you can be sure that the yearly pork rises every time the councilors pass the budget. This is illegal. The Commission on Audit should not allow this".

To all Filipino voters, please inquire what happened to the pork barrel that was allocated to your district from the previous administration. You may be surprised to learn that it probably went to the pocket of your congressman or congresswoman and not a single peso was spent for the improvement of public works in your province or district.

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