Friday, September 09, 2011

“P 161-Billion Pork Barrel for Aquino”

THUS a heading reads recently in one of the national dailies. It could not but raise interest and instill concern. In effect, it likewise raised certain doubts about basic prudence, and aroused some questions about elementary propriety. Is it not the present Malacañang occupant who continuously claims its integrity and loudly proclaims its transparency? Is it not that the ruling national leadership has renounced the so-called “Wang-Wang” mentality in furtherance of one’s advantage, in assertion of one’s power?

“Pork Barrel”: The very title alone is both intriguing and interesting. It immediately says something dubious and questionable. It stands for practically everything but what is right, proper and just. This is not to say that there are no instances when assigned to upright and forthright politicians, it is credited for the benefit people and places. But, the truth remains that the “Pork Barrel” stands for graft and corruption—as a matter of fact. This is precisely the reason why there is that long standing move in the Legislative Department itself to do away with it.

“Clear and Present Danger”: This seems to be the curious and interesting way certain individuals in Congress qualify such an enormous amount of “Pork Barrel” being proposed for disposal by the Office of the President. It is said that such an enormous amount of public funds therein assigned are even from audit and scrutiny. Translation: Millions of Filipinos who pay even but indirect taxes from birth to death, have no business inquiring and knowing where and how their hard earned money is being used or misused by their government.

There is wherefore the understandable public preoccupation that the “Freedom of Information Act” seems to be far from being a reality, and thus remains but a dream for the public that simply want to know what their government is doing with public funds—among many other things. If integrity and transparency, if public service or altruism were that enshrined in Malacañang, perhaps—just perhaps—it might want to answer the following simple questions—just for clarity and possibly for the record:

First, why so huge a “Pork Barrel” precisely in these times of want, what it will be spent for, who and/or what will benefit therefrom. Second, why is it said that the “Pork Barrel” is over and above due scrutiny and formal audit? Third, why is it that the “Freedom of Information Act” is not exactly a favorite Bill of Malacañang for passage?

“ P 161–Billion Pork Barrel for Aquino.” Wow!


OVCRUZ, JCD
9 September 2011