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Philippine Scene #17 - Pork Barrel: Scams and Abolition Campaign

Updated on October 16, 2013

Abolish Pork Barrel System

Between 80,000 and 100,000 Filipinos marched against government corruption. Creative Commons: Michael Bautista, 2013 - See more at:
Between 80,000 and 100,000 Filipinos marched against government corruption. Creative Commons: Michael Bautista, 2013 - See more at:

Alcala's Report: Abolish-Pork Barrel Signature Campaign c/o Ireno Alcala

How Popular Pork Barrel Is

It’s not about blaming the pigs.

It’s about the scams and abolition moves that surround the ‘pork barrel’ or the Countrywide Development Fund (CDF).

The enactment of the pork barrel enables legislators of the Philippines (congressmen and senators) to personally implement soft (scholarships, medicines or health aid) and hard projects (roads, buildings) at the districts they belong.

Aside from them, the chief executive or the president of the country has its own allocation of the pork barrel, too.

Pork Barrel originated from American term used during campaign trails where opponents can mud-sling each other or fire derogatory comments against each other.

Here in my country, ordinary Filipinos often hear this term in order to denote public funds being spent on projects in every district of those honorable representatives.

When I was on the radio (in the 90s), I only knew one term, CDF as the pork barrel.

It spawned into Congressional Initiative Fund (CIF) and the current Priority Development Assistant Fund (PDAF).

It was implemented since the time of President Ferdinand Marcos, was reintroduced by President Corazon Aquino, juggled by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and now blowned into scammy proportion by well-known senators and some congressmen through their cohorts under the ghost NGOs (non-government organizations) devised by the group of Janet Napoles.

Now, the administration of President Benigno 'Pnoy' Aquino III is serious to reveal those who benefited from the pork barrel where it should be given to less fortunate citizen of the country.

P-Noy on Pork Barrel

What does the President says about Pork Barrel

President Aquino stresses that maintaining the 'Pork Barrel System' under his administration will generate more projects for the people.

True enough, links of development through services, goods, medical and emergency aids were given to needy constituents.

Positive ratings were garnered by the present administration due to its honest advocacy in rebuilding the country through its on-going developmental projects that will benefit the total populace.

From Journal Online:

IT’S not pork.

Thus declared President Benigno Aquino yesterday as he parried attacks on his President’s Social Fund (PSF),which critics tagged as his own version of pork barrel.

In defending his PSF, Aquino emphasized he uses it with utmost transparency.

Aquino told Palace reporters that when he took office he instructed the Presidential Management Staff to release details of how it is being used.

Aquino said the PSF is the source of financial assistance for families of wounded or killed police and military personnel, as well as medical assistance, adding he has been careful in using the funds.

The PDAF is under the SPF, which are lump sum funds managed by the Office of the President. In the 2013 budget, there is at least P957.77 billion allocated for the SPF.

Among them are: Budgetary Support to Government Corporations (P71.40 billion);Allocations to Local Government Units (P319.84 billion);Calamity Fund (P7.5 billion);Contingent Fund (P1 billion);Department of Education - School Building Program (P1 billion);International Commitments Fund (P2.64 billion);Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund (P69.09 billion);Pension and Gratuity Fund (P98.72 billion);Priority Development Assistance Fund (P24.79 billion);Tax Expenditures Fund (P26.9 billion);Debt Service Fund - Interest Payment (P333.90 billion).

The enumeration of services are overwhelming.

President Aquino is also open to itemize the services rendered with Malampaya funds.

If only the 'Total Disclosure Act' should be implemented right now, the transparency of this administration will satisfy ordinary Filipinos.

Let me know your opinion

Do you want Pork Barrel System be abolished?

See results

Why Pork Barrel should be scrapped

Now that the clamor of the people brings to the abolition of Pork Barrel, the P-Noy administration, once and for all, has the last thing to say about it.

As reported by Louis Bacani (of Philippine STAR), the president is still adamant to totally eradicate such funds.

The President has been vocal in his stand not to abolish the pork barrel, but his announcement on Friday is seen to appease the growing public clamor to scrap the controversial fund.

Aquino said those found guilty of abusing the pork barrel system should be held accountable while ensuring that public funds go to the people's welfare.

With the pork barrel system abolished, Aquino said lawmakers can identify and suggest projects for their constituents, but these will have to go through the budgetary process.

"If approved, these projects will be earmarked as line items, under the programs of your National Government. In this way, they will be enacted into law as part of our National Budget—every line, every peso, and every project open to scrutiny, as with all other programs of your government," he said.

The President added that the government will also come up with a new mechanism to address the needs of constituents and sectors "in a manner that is transparent, methodical, and rational, and not susceptible to abuse or corruption."

However, the move to remove it will ease people's minds from the nightmarish and notorious upheavals that it brought due to the scams perpetrated by the likes of Janet Napoles and her cohorts (some legislators) who didn't want to step down their positions amid the public's vocal pleas through series of campaign

Million Walk against Pork Barrel

Million People March against Pork Barrel in Luneta  held last August 26, 2013 through social media campaign
Million People March against Pork Barrel in Luneta held last August 26, 2013 through social media campaign | Source
Nuns participating in a Million Walk against Pork Barrel
Nuns participating in a Million Walk against Pork Barrel | Source
An infograph on the basics of the Priority Development Assistance Fund scam, produced by the Assembly, the Political Science Organization of the Ateneo de Manila University. Date:14 August 2013, 05:39:46 Source:Flickr: PDAF_3/Author : Bella
An infograph on the basics of the Priority Development Assistance Fund scam, produced by the Assembly, the Political Science Organization of the Ateneo de Manila University. Date:14 August 2013, 05:39:46 Source:Flickr: PDAF_3/Author : Bella

Placebo Effects: Million People March against Pork Barrel

Since the full-blown expose on Fertilizer Fund Scam and perpetrators are being revealed by whistle-blowers, the name of businesswoman Janet Napoles surfaced.

Whitle-blowers asked protection from the government, as Napoles's cousin Benhur Luy became a 'hot' item among media-men and so the Napoles family.

Filipino didn't ignore the issue, since some well-known and veteran legislators were already involved in the fabricated non-government organizations (NGOs) where the 'pork barrel funds were funneled.

Social media such as Facebook and Twitter became the main outlets of Filipino sentiments and rages that sprung in the hearts and minds of the citizenry in all ages.

Million March and signature campaign were organized, especially in many key cities of the country (Metro Manila, Cebu City, Davao City, Naga City(Bicol) to mention a few).

Personals: As I witnessed one of the episodes of such people initiatives, as I included it here via video, I am confident that the system will be abolished in time (as recently spilled out by the President himself).

Filipino people will never be silenced, just like what happened in EDSA People Power scenes that united us in order to stop Marcos dictatorship rule in our beloved country.


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    • travel_man1971 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ireno Alcala 

      4 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      @grand old lady: They're not credible witnesses, either. They're just puppets being maneuvered by powerful hands misleading the public about what really happened. I think, Benhur and other whistleblowers should never trust them.

      The Master Puppeteer is still at large.

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 

      4 years ago from Philippines

      There are new witnesses now, Ruby Tuazon and Dennis Cunanan. But I have serious doubts about Cunanan. He seems to want to have it all -- immunity and denying he benefited by the pork barrel. And his testimony linking two senators is so lame, saying he spoke to them by phone. Much too little when I'm quite sure he can say much more. He's a clown and he should be charged as guilty and go to jail for his crime.

    • travel_man1971 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ireno Alcala 

      5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      @ PositronWildhawk: Full Disclosure Act or the Information Bill is in the offing. I hope this would be realized in the present Philippine Congress. This legislation will clearly show what is really happening with the 'goings-in-and-out' of public funds, such as the pork barrel funds.

      Thanks for dropping by.

    • PositronWildhawk profile image


      5 years ago from London

      I think there must be a promotion of greater transparency in the use of pork barrel funds, however I think abolishing it would be a mistake. The officials must be required to list their reports through the print media. By doing so, the Filipinos will have a clearer and seemingly honest record.

    • travel_man1971 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ireno Alcala 

      5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      @billybuc: You're right, Sir Bill. Our legislators are often blinded by the tempting crave for riches, even it will mean funneling people's fund in their own pockets. (sighs)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I don't care what country we are talking about, money and politics do not mix nor should they ever. Thomas Jefferson warned about this kind of corruption 240 years ago and we still have not learned our lesson. Great topic and article.


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