PDAF

Manila, Philippines -- The Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) has a nice ring to it. A conceptual construct smelling like roses, -- for public service -- and bordering on the ethereal since it is priority assistance. So if terms are to be credible, "priority" means taking precedence. Hence it must be a requirement above the rest; a "must have" over other contending hierarchical public needs for local or national constituencies? Of late, the PDAF has become main staple of debate precisely because of exposes seeing light in media; discourses and initiatives by leading voices, and in the public sector, questioning the rationale for the "Funds" continuation? And as to who's "priority need" it actually serves? And this, not to shed light on how the "leftist party list", as well, appropriate their own PDAF and for whom? The innocent and idealist in Congress, want a surgical scrapping of what is notoriously dubbed by many as, "pork barrel", from both Chambers since the added public function, is anathema to the core of legislative work. They claim identifying public works, development projects etc. and funds of this nature are better allocated for local government units. Others quip, without the PDAF, aka "pork-barrel", only serious candidates interested in law-making (not money-making) will aspire for congressman or senator. I disagree. The nature of the political beast, presently subjected to a multi-party system, term-limits, culture of popularity will require him to be "creative" in shoring funds for his re-election e.g. media ads, running against an incumbent mayor with city/municipal funds, aside from actual dole-outs to needy voters.

As early as 1978 towards 1984, anecdotal history among the old politicians retell of "leaks" in how funds of this nature are disbursed by legislators. One tale goes, an opposition personality was all set to ride his white horse and divulge the practice in a "privilege speech" in the Batasan (during the Marcos Years) when his very own anti-Regime colleagues intervened and persuaded him to desist, as the political carnage would involve many. Such backroom practice has been part of the political panorama for many years. The names and particulars will never see print. Let us just say, the system is syndicated from initial phase of identifying the project recipient whether a foundation, an NGO or government institution; to include releasing; law-enforcement, just in case investigation is ordered, if the anomaly is discovered etc. Officers, officials, individuals who engage in this scheme of "liquidating", have a share in the pork-barrel fund. In the late decade of the 60s a 10% level of graft was the standard. Today, it is 40%-70% upon identification of the project by the legislator. And it must be "kaliwaan" or cash on delivery. Deposits made abroad are not unheard of. The smarter foundations who are able to "front" or package the PDAF outlay for ghost or partial delivery for projects, only fly back to the Philippines on a seasonal basis to earn their keep. They prefer to stay abroad enjoying their millions?

While there is merit to serious calls for greater accountability and transparency in the disbursement of the "people's money", such an advocacy cannot be confined to the Congress or the Senate alone. To limit the housecleaning to the legislature will be construed as a partisan hatchet job. Every corner of government work involving public funds must be subjected to the same standard of scrutiny - from President down to Barangay Official. And they will either smell like roses or...something else. The "Line-Item Budgeting" is the way to go for all government.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Indonesia informs convicts of execution, Frenchman excluded
    Indonesia informs convicts of execution, Frenchman excluded

    Indonesia said Saturday it has officially notified eight foreign drug convicts that they will be executed, but a Frenchman was granted a temporary reprieve after Paris stepped up pressure on Jakarta. The eight -- from Australia, Brazil, Nigeria and the Philippines -- have been transported to the high-security prison island of Nusakambangan where they will face the firing squad along with an Indonesian prisoner, despite strident international criticism. "Today, just now, we just finished …

  • Double Celebration
    Double Celebration

    Ropali Corporation, one of the top multi-brand motorcycle dealers in the Philippines, now holds two Guinness World Records. In the span of four days, Ropali Corporation broke two records, namely: The Largest Parade of Motorcycles with Sidecars and The Largest Simultaneous Motorcycle Burnout. As such, it also became the first motorcycle dealer in the Philippines to become a two-time Guinness World Record holder. The record for The Largest Parade of Motorcycles with Sidecars was previously …

  • United States seeks access to Philippine bases as part of Asia pivot
    United States seeks access to Philippine bases as part of Asia pivot

    The United States has asked for access to Philippine military bases in eight locations to rotate troops, aircraft, and ships as Washington shifts its forces to Asia and as China expands its military presence in the South China Sea. U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, in a speech in Arizona, has outlined Washington's next phase in its Asia "pivot", deploying its most sophisticated destroyers, bombers and fighters to the region. The Asia "pivot" has already seen U.S. Marines rotating through the …

  • China's island-building to loom large at SE Asia summit
    China's island-building to loom large at SE Asia summit

    China's creation of new island footholds in contested seas will hover over a Southeast Asian summit that has become an annual test of the region's nerve in standing up to its massive neighbour. The South China Sea hot potato drops this year into Malaysia's lap as the rotating chair of the 10 member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and host of Monday's meeting. ASEAN states Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei claim parts of the strategic South China Sea, but Beijing …

  • Philippines, China trade accusations over sea threats

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippines accused China of aggressive maneuvers against its reconnaissance plane and fishermen in disputed seas where Beijing has stepped up construction of artificial islands, but China reiterated its claim on the strategic waterways. …

  • Indonesia orders execution of Mary Jane, 9 others
    Indonesia orders execution of Mary Jane, 9 others

    Indonesia has ordered preparations for the execution of 10 drug convicts, including Filipina Mary Jane Veloso, as the Philippine government filed yesterday a second appeal for judicial review of the case to save the maid from death by firing squad. The Attorney General’s Office (AGO) of Indonesia released an official letter dated April 23, instructing prosecutors to prepare for the execution of 10 convicts, the Jakarta Post reported yesterday. The execution would be conducted after the …

  • Noy to visit Canada, Japan
    Noy to visit Canada, Japan

    President Aquino will embark on a state visit to Canada in May and Japan in June to meet with his counterparts and promote Philippine interests. Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said Aquino accepted the invitation from Canadian Governor General David Johnston to make a state visit to Canada from May 7 to 9. Tied to this trip is the President’s one-day working visit to the United States to meet with potential investors and with the local Filipino community in Chicago, Valte …

  • Business groups back K to 12 program
    Business groups back K to 12 program

    The government’s K to 12 program adding two more years to basic education received support from various business groups yesterday. However, they urged relevant government agencies to deal with issues regarding the implementation of Republic Act 10533, the Enhanced Basic Education Act or K-12 Law. In a statement, business groups led by the Philippine Business for Education (PBEd) said RA 10533 is a milestone piece of legislation that intends to bring the Philippines up to par with the rest of …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options