PDAF and the jeepney: Why the pork barrel should be abolished

I think the pork barrel should be abolished. Some people think some people have benefited from pork barrel money and that abolishing it will be like throwing the baby out along with the bath water. Perhaps. But that is really the sort of Robin Hood mentality that has no place in a modern 21st Century society. The existence of the pork barrel is premised on the notion that the Executive branch of government is focused on the “national” level and does not think local enough. And, to follow the logic further, delegating the need for local considerations to legislators will solve that problem.

The trouble with that medieval logic lies in this simple question:

On what basis is the presumption that legislators are better channels for local concerns than officials of local government units (LGUs) (such as mayors and Barangay officials) made?


Lots of people, according to legend, benefited from Robin Hood’s altruistic banditry. But to institutionalise Robin Hoodery as a routine business-as-usual means to keep “local needs” addressed is a moronic proposition. That’s the same kind of thinking that turned jeepneys from the quaint samples of “Filipino ingenuity” back in 1946 to the enormous intractable socio-economic problem that they are today. Sure, lots of people “benefit” from jeepneys. But the jeepneys’ lack of coherence as a modern system of moving people en masse stares us in the face today like an Alcoholics Anonymous facilitator.

The parallels between the pork barrel and the jeepney are very evident. Pork barrel disbursment of “development funds”, like the jeepney, does not lend itself to a transparent system that could be governed with some semblance of coherence. And this is why the whole regime comes across — rightly so — as an institutionalised national scam. We didn’t need Janet Lim Napoles (if the allegations are true) to put the “scam” in the “PDAF scam”. The Priority Development Assistance Fund has always been a scam. Filipinos were just too dumb to realise it over the last three decades. Indeed, the pork barrel, like the jeepney infestation, are products of short-sighted populist politics. Both are products of wrong arguments that have been allowed to win for too long by a people not exactly renowned for arguing intelligently.

Pork barrel apologists harp on what they describe as the “important point and outcome” of the pork barrel gravy train; “All that matters is for the beneficiaries to get what they need. In full,” to quote the pompous assertion of a certain bozo. Sounds nice on paper, doesn’t it? That’s like saying that what’s ultimately important is that jeepney passengers get to where they want to go — even if it means allowing their means to do so to foul up traffic all over the metropolis and turn our roads into Highways to Hell in the process. If we are to use the same logic with the pork barrel, that’s like trying to implement measures to ensure that everything stolen by Robin Hood from the King is spent on putting breadcrumbs on peasants’ tables. Good luck with that “fix”. It’s no wonder Robin Hood’s men are so merry. They’re all laughing all the way to the bank.

If we want “micro level assistance” (now supposedly currently enabled by the almighty pork barrel funding) to continue, then a more systematic way of achieving that should be put in place (or done properly where it already exists) where it REALLY belongs — in the Executive Branch. We all talk about “freedom of information” like we are some kind of expert about what the term means. Yet many of our high-horsed social media barons fail to understand what it takes to mine useful information from transaction-intensive operations. You need control measures in place to capture the data in a form readily convertible to said “information”. When money is palmed over to oinking politicians at the whim of presidents starved for their “cooperation”, there will be no such information.

The short answer to idiotic calls to retain the pork barrel is that a mechanism to get resources allocated to address “micro needs” already exists in the Executive Branch.

It does not take political “experts” to see that the whole point in being a duly-elected legislator is to ensure that constituencies are well-represented when crafting laws. They should leave the execution of those laws (and the use of public funds to do so) to the Executive Branch. That is why said branch is named as such.

Trying to “fix pork without hurting those who really need it” is like trying to modernise public transport without abolishing the jeepney. Change always hurts. Only people who lack imagination and routinely face the future with a pathetic lack of courage aspire for painless change. And we wonder why China kicks Filipino ass.

It’s simple, really — but not for the small-minded amongst us.

[Photo coutesy The Guardian.]


Post Author: benign0

benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.

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32 Comments on "PDAF and the jeepney: Why the pork barrel should be abolished"

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Jerry Lynch

Yup, those barangay officials know that they can’t put their name all over a water supply like they can a basketball covered court. There is no need for running water or sewage control when you can play basketball in the rain.


Interesting parallels.

It’s probably less problematic to get rid of the pork barrel than the jeepneys.

Get rid of the pork barrel, you’ll inconvenient just the political class, get rid of the jeepney you’ll inconvenient, well, more people than the political class for sure.

It’s also easy to say to get rid of both, but there should be some thoughts on its replacement. In fact, might as well hit two birds with one stone, by allocating the money from the former to fund a modern public transport system and related infrastructure (ie.roads and stormwater drainage system).


a question.. (disclaimer, I’m asking because i don’t know and I am just assuming stuff in my head.)

If the gov’t actually manages to remove the pork barrel and transfer it to the executive department. Will monitoring be easier/feasible?
Accountability is another thing but if the public can monitor fund movements all the time then accountability will be by default


Pnoy aquino’s fatuous responses to the pork narrel scam, public opinion, and CoA report clearly highlight that he is incompetent and/or corrupt. Take your choice. Neither augurs well for the country and for democracy.

Thomas Jefferson
So let us abolish the pork barrel along with the perks and privileges of the legislators. I am saying it again… Reform should include a strict itemized budget with complete and strict COA oversight to ensure auditing and accounting leading to actions against graft and corruption. Reform and concentrate the itemized budget into a Constituent Development Plans and Programs that would benefit only the people(constituents)and strictly exclude the congressmen. The constituents will need livelihood plans and programs, scholarships, medical assistance, disaster relief, etc. Strict bidding of goods and services from reputable contractors is a feasible option. Remove presidential control over… Read more »
“Filipinos were just too dumb to realise it over the last three decades.” I sincerely believe that Filipinos are not that dumb. As their nature, they’re just not brought up to have concern for other people around them and the environment. That’s all there is to it. Evidently this can be obviously seen on their conducts and behaviors not only within their homes but outdoors as well. If Filipinos have inherent in them concern for others, their country and the environment this pork barrel could not have been conceived, implemented and devoured by politicians up to this time. Pork barrel… Read more »

“A man was admitted to hospital over the weekend with a fork stuck in his penis after an act of self-pleasuring went wrong” ( the fork was removed without physical impairment to the mentally impaired idiot)
In other news pnoy aquino was unavailable over the weekend during the floods due to …..


If you got rid of pork barrel all those brainless and unemployable sons and daughters of corrupt dynasties, and has been actors/actresses, would actually have to try and do something for a living, and it would also close down restaurants in makati, ktv bars, reduce journalists pay on the philippine star, put lynda jumilla out of a job, have mistresses crying in the street as they look for their next customer, and make bimby aquino’s brand value plummet.

Domingo Arong
Benign0: Here’s what former National Treasurer Leonor Briones said: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/471863/ex-national-treasurer-calls-for-scrapping-of-p450b-presidential-pork-barrel “Suspending the ‘pork barrel’ or scrapping it altogether is good, but why not slay the bigger monster in the annual national budget? “That creature would be the “special purpose funds” (SPF) of President Aquino which, at P449.95 billion, eat up about a fifth of the entire P2.268-trillion budget proposed for 2014. “The present subject of widespread public outrage—the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), or pork barrel—is only about 5.5 percent (or P25.24 billion) of the incoming SPF.” Briones adds: The “entire special purpose fund is under the control of the… Read more »

If no more pork barrel then no more pacquaio in politics.
So many reasons to say ” abolish pork barrel”


ang mga tao po ba pwede makakuha ng benepisyo galing sa PDAF? ask lang po.. salamat