WHEN PRESIDENT BENIGNO S. AQUINO III announced the abolition of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or the pork barrel, not a few people remarked that the President really meant to keep the pork, and just change the way it was cooked.
This was reiterated by Budget Secretary FLorencio Abad during a consultation on good governance and government’s anti-corruption action plan on Wednesday.
“I must emphasize that the Aquino administration will stand by its commitment to abolish the PDAF beginning with the 2014 budget, which from reports yesterday is being supported by the leadership of both chambers of Congress,” Abad said.
Abad what would take the place of the PDAF would be another mechanism that still allows legislators to identify projects to meet the needs of their constituencies.
“We need to establish a new mechanism by which we can respond to the urgent needs for very basic and urgent social services that our communities need, and for which in many instances national government programs have not been able to address,” Abad added. He said this must be “a mechanism without the abuse and leakages that plague the PDAF.”
In his September 2 column for the Philippine Daily Inquirer titled To abolish or to restructure?, respected constitutionalist Fr. Joaquin Bernas Jr. pretty much raises the same question – how exactly will the President kill and resurrect the pork barrel, and whether the reincarnation would be any better.
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