I posted this on Facebook yesterday morning after I heard some snippets of PNoy’s press conference regarding pork barrel:
Just now Noynoy has called for the abolition of the pork barrel system. Amen to that!
Is he scared of the rally on Monday? Bowing to public pressure? Are we really his boss and he is actually listening? Is this a public relations ploy with no follow through?
Whatever it is, it is good if the evil pork is abolished. See you on Monday to tell these politicians that we are watching and that we want the END OF PORK!
Here’s the full transcript (in English) of his speech.
As I understand it, the pork barrel – as it is now – will be no more. No more giving a Congressman P70 Million a year which he can put anywhere he wants, with any contractor that he wants. We will have a system where there will be line-budgeting or earmarking. Where a member of Congress can insert a project into the budget of a certain agency. But the agency will implement it. Hands-off Congress after the budget it approved.
So, the Congress member would have to have his proposed projects (based on the menu?) during the budget hearings and insert them. I suppose the budget hearings would need bigger rooms now. And take a longer time.
And I guess there would still be a ceiling of project costs. Or else they’ll fund anything and everything in their districts. I am optimistic about it. But guardedly optimistic. THOUGH I am still wondering why there is a need for this at all. In reality, members of Congress should not have anything to do with Executive functions. If they want to help out, they should liaison with their local executives for the projects they think need more focus. And have the Governor or Mayor do the legwork for budget and implementation. That way, there is a divide between the 2 (of 3) branches of government. As how it should be.
This development is good because people who enter government to make money will now stay away. It isn’t as lucrative anymore. The millions spent in campaigning will be gone. So dynasties will lessen (or go to the local races where it will be even more exciting), because there is no point in staying in Congress for them with such a small salary.
This will also lead to the maturing of our Political Parties. Because with the lessening of the budgets of candidates, the Parties will be the ones to invest in the campaigns. And so, there will be a stricter implementation of Party principles and loyalties. Why else will they invest in someone who they do not know will be loyal? Maybe we can eventually have a real two-party system regardless of the President, because the President has no more sway over the Congress members with pork.
The local races will get more exciting (hopefully not more violent) because that’s where all the money will go. But the good thing about local officials is that the people KNOW whether they are working or not. And there is an immediate visible effect of their projects.
At the end of the day, as we see all over media, it is about transparency and accountability. So yes, the Freedom of Information Bill should go in tandem with the abolition of the pork barrel. That would be REAL change. And if that happens, even with his perennial absenteeism during calamities, PNoy could be one of the best Presidents we have ever had.
With the exception of one little thing. His own personal pork. Here are some slides from Social Watch which detail his pork. These all do not have specific. They are lumpsum allocations. So the President can use them for whatever he wants.
Some are clear like School Building program (but why not just include that in the DepEd budget?), and others are unclear like Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits or Contingent (for what?) Fund. What is he Allocating to LGUs? What Support to Government Corporations? Don’t they make millions already?
I suppose the PDAF will be taken out. What Feasibility Studies are they doing? And here are Unprogrammed Funds… as I understand, these allocations get the money that is SURPLUS after government spending.
Infrastructure should be in DPWH right? And a lot of big words.
What is a People’s Survival Fund? We have much more to be vigilant about. So even with the switch from PDAF to line-budgeting (which for me, is still questionable), we still have a lot of pork swimming around the government.
See you on Monday.