Perhaps abolishing the pork barrel isn’t really good for Filipinos’ health after all

All quiet on the western front. First the outrage, now the quiet. Surprisingly, even the Inquirer.net editor’s curiosity was aroused today

But why was there no remark whatsoever on the reported involvement of certain legislators in the scam? Why the tepid—some say safe—response from the business community in general? What do the employers’ group, the exporters’ association, or even the various foreign chambers have to say about the whole scandal? The silence is truly ironic because corruption has emerged as a major issue or stumbling block to investor interest in virtually all business surveys through the years. Many business groups have perennially complained about corruption in the Bureaus of Customs and of Internal Revenue. They were very vocal on similar issues in the past.

Why are they not taking this opportunity to join hands with the citizenry in fighting to do away with a major source of corruption? Why are they on the sidelines, as though fearful of tangling with politicians?

pork_barrel_philippinesCurious indeed, but hardly surprising. After all, if you were a businessman in the Philippines there’s lots of money to be made off stolen money — specially one where the trail is muddled and its secrets protected by a veil of politically-motivated silence by people to whom Filipinos have given the public trust.

Two things possibly explain silence amongst the country’s business taipans.

First are the accomplices in the thievery — the potential involvement of some of them in channeling money from the government’s coffers into the pockets of crooks both in the public service and private sector. That is what Janet Lim Napoles is accused of — middlemannery in pork barrel thievery. How many more Napoles’s are out there in the country’s “business” community? Many more, probably. And they’re likely keeping their heads down. Perhaps first stop for a thorough investigation are bank executives. How much pork money laundering is going on in the Philippines’ banking system? Who are the bank executives involved? Is there a criminal syndicate working within the appropriation and disbursement process? Does criminal intent go all the way up to the budgeting process itself in Malacañang — even to the nature of the campaign promise brokering business itself during elections? The implications are astounding. It’s almost like an entire Philippine criminal society is waiting to be revealed just in this area alone.

For the second bunch — direct beneficiaries of pork — we need to cast a wider net and categorise as appropriate:

(1) Entities with direct and profitable client relationships with pork disbursers. How many private enterprises owe their revenue streams to pork money? Bogus NGOs have been cited specifically so far. But then, surely, there are many more. Construction companies who owe their continued operation to paper-thin asphalt overlay works, erection of tacky waiting sheds, “welcome” arches, pedestrian bridges. There are the dredging companies that are supposedly hired to “save” communities from the flood waters of overfolowing rivers and esteros every year. Contractor that rebuild — then rebuild again — public school buildings that were deliberately not built to last to keep them coming back for more building every year.

(2) Entities that supply direct beneficiaries of stolen pork at profit. There are the food concessionaires who supply labour gangs working on pork-funded civil works with double-dead meat, half-cooked rice, and weeks-old vegetables. Advertising agencies and tarpaulin sellers that live off politicians’ grandstanding over pork-funded initiatives. Suppliers of materials and equipment to all these shady “public projects”. The list is a long one. If OFWs’ contribution to the economy to the tune of more than 10% of its value is a national embarrassment, the potential size of the contribution to the economy of pork is an utter national shame.

(3) Ordinary folk who have come to be dependent on pork. As starlet-turned-politician-by-marriage Lani Mercado famously remarked, “Basta huwag lang manghihingi sa amin ang mga tao!”. Indeed, much like OFW remittances, pork money stimulates the nation’s unabashedly hollow consumerist economy.

Indeed, perhaps the majority of Filipinos are suddenly re-thinking whether abolishing the pork barrel is really good for their health. Consider that the very institution populated by their duly-elected “representatives” has been described as the country’s “biggest criminal syndicate” and the fundamental principle that, in a democracy, the character of elected officials mirror the character of their consituents, well, the dots are easy to connect from hereon…

Could it be that abolishing pork barrel will put the Philippine economy at risk of collapse? That depends on how much of private business is held by the testicles by pork. The deafening silence coming from the country’s business leaders, in this light, does not bode well for a national economy long-suspected to be hollow at its core.

For now, I defer to the words of the esteemed Cielito Habito whose take on the ideal essence of what it means to be a real legislator of this fine nation reads as follows:

Sans the prospect of hundreds of millions of pesos in pork barrel funds, candidates [vying for seats in Congress] with less than noble intentions would have little reason to “invest” huge sums to campaign for these positions. Truly worthy but less endowed candidates are then more likely to run and succeed. We would have a legislature marked by statesmen and stateswomen truly worthy of their “Honorable” appellation.

Life without pork is a bitch when you are a member of Philippine Congress. Perhaps it’s time politicians deal with this.

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40 Comments on “Perhaps abolishing the pork barrel isn’t really good for Filipinos’ health after all”

  1. Sometimes, I get the idea that corruption is the one thing that is keeping this country afloat. It is part of our culture and it’s the main methodology for managing money. But I think, a country ruled by pork and corruption cannot stand for long.

    1. That’s what I’ve been thinking of, as well. I keep thinking that “removing” corruption in the Philippines will cause the country to collapse somehow, as if the whole economy rests on it.

      The idea was so depressing that it amused me.

        1. Indonesia has a parliamentary form of government- and it’s even ranked #127 in some survey where corruption transparency is concernced (my classmate in international relations showed me this here in Australia)- they’re far worse than us. It is not the type of government that needs a radical overhaul- it is CULTURE. If you can’t bring up children with better morals than our own pig-minded leaders and bosses, then what’d you expect for the rest of society to generate into?

          If you can’t teach your own kids to study, not cheat, not be lazy, not trash the school grounds because there are designated places for their rubbish…then how the hell are they going to think right when they’ll grow up to run the next generation?

          Start up from grassroots level- and that is getting off from our butts to actually reach out to these deprived kids and educate them properly about the world.

      1. But so does with the current system (or am I missing something?) And if we are currently a parliamentary then for sure the next PM be from BSNoy’s party since they dominated the sits.

        I always thought that its the fliptards mentality not the form of govt. No form of government will cure immature society.

        1. “immature society” is an understatement, Filipino is a primitive society. Sadly I am a pure blood Filipino.

      1. Sort of. Any party still needs to have its “Abad” to manage things. Now then, think about the parties you have here in this country, and ask yourself if the notion that parliamentary system financial management is more collective in nature is at all comforting to you.

    1. Maybe or maybe not. I think that no matter what system we use, the corrupt ones would (sooner or later) find a way (or ways) around it.

      1. No, it doesn’t. My Indonesian teacher from Bali says that the bureaucracy is even worse- and they’re a parliamentary government! Again, this is all to do with revamping the OLD, BAD culture. What we all need is a CULTURAL revolution- something like what happened in the Western world during the 1960s.

        Only that this would be about standing up for a mature way of life- saying yes to integrity and honour, and not condoning anymore to bribery and thievery and such…we have a long way to go, Philippines.

  2. Any form of government that has been proven to work efficiently in developrd countries would just be totally distorted when in the hands of Filipinos.

    Having already distorted, lazy and parasitic mindset everything they touch will just turn to s**t.

    Although we are still groping and hoping to see a light at the end of the tunnel it always turned to be that of a rushing freight train.

    President PNoy was supposedly the great hope in the midst of nauseating corruption and total disorganization in the country. It turned out after the P10 billion pork barrel scam that he’s just another “tyrant hiding behind righteousness”.

    1. Again, stop with the one-man-blame game. It is US, it our SOCIETY. It’s so funny that we outnumber our leaders- and YET we can’t even kill and boot them out of office so easy! How ’bout searching for morally responsible, educated guys actually interested in running for national leadership around this country? Did you even do that? Did you even approach people like my dad, a lawyer, an idealist, who, because he’s not a businessman, a drug lord, a celebrity, or some part of a loooong line of political families- NO ONE would give him a chance to prove that this country is still worth fixing? Hmmmm?

      Instead, I’ll just be hearing crickets. Typical.

      1. Good question.

        How about you? What have you done or contributed so far.

        Even since my high school, college and even post grad days my group have conducted seminars, teach-ins and even out in the streets shouting slogans.

        We spent even our allowance money for some of the handouts, devices, transportation and food for the hope to have more disciplined, vigilant and proactive mindset of the people against waste, abuse and corruption.

        However, what is happening right now? After returning from abroad for over thirty years what kind of undisciplined, passive, liars, wily and arrogantly presumptuous people you’ll ever mingle with.

        Even most private businesses are more inclined to loot you of your money for their rotten and useless services i.e. telecom companies, for instance, would make you sign up for a “lock in” agreement for a period of two years so that when you intend to terminate their useless services you must pay P2500, aside from making your load vanish even before you’ve consumed or used it.

        MERALCO for instance, every time they make major repairs or maintenance, they will increase their generation rate per kw. They let their consumers pay for their over 9% tax as well.

        Now, what have you done so far, and what are you planning to contribute?

  3. Even if we shifted to parliamentary – its the same fliptards who still gets to choose the MPs. I guess its the same kapal muks, new game rules, but the same racket.

    1. Absolutely, right. Culture needs revamping- how? Only through education. Educate EVERYONE in this nation, and you’ll never see Aquinos, Marcoses, Enriles, Estradas, Revillas, Villars, Osmenas, Binays…all those stupid political clans would’ve been obliterated- and totally humiliated.

      In an educated society, you’ll always have fresh new leaders with fresh, innovative ideas on how things can be done to the country.

  4. How about more checks and balances when it comes to the line item budget? I see the main problem as the politicians dipping their hands into funds for personal use. Reforms in leadership should be made in terms of the COA, DBM, trial courts and professional citizen oversight. The Constitution can be amended to include this problem of budget theft of our politicians. Pass the FOI so documents showing graft and corruption can be released! Any other suggestions?

  5. rolls-royce must be re-thinking their entry into philippine market!
    no pork barrel – no sales
    no doubt janet lim napoles had 3 on order.
    followed by enrile, estrada, and revilla

  6. No form of government can help an immature society. A parliamentary form of governance will only create more chaos since the Philippines is run by the cult of personality. It would be people power on steroids. Parliamentary government only works in very mature society and even then it still runs amok. As for curing pork it does nothing since those in the parliament still curry political favors and with a one party rule can write blanks checks. I hate to say it but the Philippines might be better off with a State Capitalistic government that will require a very strong ruling party that will also make incremental reforms. It would take decades to fix the problems.

    1. Don’t forget it is still the fliptards who still gets to choose that one very strong ruling party. I can foresee it.. Same old TRAPOLITICIANS + artistas but unified and very strong.

      As I have said many times before Fail-a-pines situation is a chicken-egg paradox.

  7. ….. i may sound too idealistic .. but i sincerely believe that what we need in the Philippines is a DICTATOR .. who is ” MA-ALAM .. MATAPAT .. MAKATARUNGAN .. and nasa MATUWID na LANDAS ” … i can dream , can’t i …..

  8. I prefer to ingest nothing from an animal that eats its own shit.
    Filipino’s should have none of this and abolish it immediately.DU-Uh-UH-UH-UH-UUUUHHH!

  9. The entire country is DISEASED by corruption. Every single ‘buisness’ is a scam in one way or another.

    Look at the telecomm co.s. When was the last time a poorrer Filipino got a ‘load’ from Smart/Globe/Sun etc, etc…that actually did not turn to shit hours before it was supposed to?

    When was the last time a regular citizen filed an insurance claim and received payment on that claim with one of those idiotic Ins. companies outside the LTO? OH, and PhilHealth? Having to have every receipt handy at the time of critical illness at a hospital when disaster strikes and someones’ life depends on it? Oh yeah, better have CA$H or that patient is dying, BITCH! Oh,and if you do not like it?

    What are you going to do?

    or how bout the housing construction companies using ‘un-paid laborers’ who get promised ‘paying jobs’ if they work a three month trial period(then get fired for not ‘working out,lol!, HA!

    YES, the entire country has a DISEASE and it is called corruption. It affects every business and citizen in the country in one way or another. It is a NATIONAL DISGRACE too, and you all let it happen.

    The International community is not blind to it either, they consider the Philippine Republic as ‘RIP-OFF Central’/’SCAMM CITY” among others that are even less desirable.

  10. Commonly I really don’t study article upon sites, on the other hand would like to point out that this particular write-up incredibly urged me you need to do the item! Your current composing flavor may be stunned me. Thanks, incredibly great article.

  11. we already had a parliamentary formof gov’t before isn’t?

    I think politicalmaturty should come first..but honestly i have no idea how will that happen.. I trusted that the mass media is the key..

    personally I will try my luck in pushing for transparency local government where i belong..hopefully it would grow up from there..

  12. For as long as the people in government are only out to enrich themselves, it’s hard to say that a change in government system will work. The Filipinos should look into the rationalization of budget allocations for government agencies. I once saw that list and was astounded that obscure government agencies were given hefty sums.

    It’s organized crime and we have got to be vigilant.

  13. ENRILE, REVILLA, and JINGGOY ARE SO PATHETIC-LOOKING THAT I WANT TO PUKE EVERYTIME I SEE THEIR DISGUSTING FACES. Their looks alone is the embodiment of corruption and everything bad that is happening in this country. FUCK YOU ENRILE… FUCK YOU REVILLA… AND FUCK YOU JINGGOY UNGGOY

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