Grassroots Participatory Budget Process (GPBP): Malacanang’s new Pork Barrel distribution machine?

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Now that Department of Budget Management Secretary Butch Abad is in hot water over allegations surrounding (among others) his being lead architect of the gazillion-peso presidential slush fund — the ‘Disbursement Acceleration Program’ (DAP) — purportedly used to fund efforts to motivate Philippine Senators to deliver a favourable verdict in the 2012 impeachment of former Chief Justice Renato Corona, a vacuum has been created for the new role as the President’s personal Santa Claus. Seems like Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary has stepped up to take on the job.

Pork Santa Claus: DILG Secretary Mar Roxas

Pork Santa Claus: DILG Secretary Mar Roxas

As part of the Grassroots Participatory Budget Process (GPBP), hailed as Philippine President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III’s “new ‘bottom-up’ budgeting system”, Roxas “personally” handed out cheques amounting to more than Php 38.3 million to the happy mayors of northern Mindanao. He also supposedly “led the distribution of P4 billion in financial assistance to areas ravaged by Supertyphoon Yolanda in the Visayas region also under the GPBP.”

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One wonders though why cheques need to be personally handed out. One would think that in this day and age that there’d be better, more efficient ways to transfer funds from one government unit to another. It’s a no-brainer of course. Politics will always play a part whenever large sums of money are moved about, and just from seeing the media mileage Roxas gains from this quaint exercise, it is obvious what this stunt is really all about.

There are many ways to skin a cat, and many ways to cook pork.

As the rest of the Philippines’ criminal investigation machine, its “civil society” talking heads, its clownish ‘activists’, and its billion-dollar media industry players focus their troops, cameras, and tweets on the Napoles Lists and the Senate inquiries “investigating” these, there may be new pork disbursement tentacles stretching out to the countryside from Malacanang. Perhaps one of these is Mar Roxas’s GPBP — another acronym to add to the growing list of pork acronyms and euphemisms.

This time the target is not legislators but local government executives. That’s a lot closer to home as far as President BS Aquino is concerned. Why bother with a separate, supposedly “independent” branch of government when there are lots of bozos to be “motivated” within the Executive branch?

Makes good business sense, indeed.

The GPBP is packaged as an innovation to the traditional ‘top-down’ budgetting process and supposedly gives the onus for identifying “poverty alleviation initiatives” to local government officials.

Pardon my naivety, though, but I always thought that mayors and other local government unit (LGU) officials have always been responsible for that.

Where is the innovation here?

The ominous aspect of this is that the “19,553 anti-poverty projects” covered by the GPBP were “identified with the help of nongovernmental organizations [also known as ‘NGOs’].”

[Boldface in above quoted text added for emphasis by this article’s author.]

Yikes!

jinggoy_estrada_pork_barrelNot all NGOs are bad of course. But this community of organisations ain’t exactly enjoying a public relations golden age nowadays, what with that acronym now squarely associated with alleged Pork Barrel Scam ringleader Janet Lim Napoles. Napoles, if we recall, is accused of using a network of bogus NGOs to siphon government cash off to Los Angeles to fund her daughter’s LA-LA lifestyle there. Alleged pork scam chump Senator Jinggoy Estrada, for his part, famously insisted that “It is not up to the senators to determine whether an NGO is bogus or not”.

No wonder all these NGOs clamber over one another to ensure they are part of this budgetting process and cling onto government officials like barnacles. That whole scene is a money launderer’s wet dream!

Furthermore, it seems that we are all being led to believe that the launch of the GPBP heralds a new age of LGU focus on “poverty alleviation” — worse, that this “new” focus is an outcome of the efforts of President BS Aquino’s administration and the crocodile kindness of his henchman, Mar Roxas.

Step back from that BS and consider this simple principle;

That “poverty alleviation” at local levels should always have been understood to be part and parcel of the whole point of local governance.

There is no fanfare required for something that is part of the job to begin with. Seems like the nation’s honourable mayors should re-visit their job descriptions. And perhaps DILG Secretary should find better, more efficient ways to distribute government funds than having to fly all the way to Mindanao to personally hand out cheques like some kind of perverse tropical Santa Claus.

Sayaw Pinoy, sayaw…

7 Replies to “Grassroots Participatory Budget Process (GPBP): Malacanang’s new Pork Barrel distribution machine?”

  1. The second easiest thing in the world is to spend other people’s money. The easiest thing in the world is to be photographed spending other people’s money. This is the no skill administration it seems since expertise seems to not even be part of the criteria of being in it. If you don’t believe me look at the poverty and unemployment stats. So let’s make up for it in pogi points and AIDS PR. As If Doing Something. I always found Noynoy pathetic for not being his own person. Always digging into a perceived glorious past he had nothing to do with. What I find more pathetic is Mar’s dependence on Noynoy and playing John the Baptist to Noynoy’s Jesus Christ. Even Noytards washing their hands of Mar but without seeing that Mar’s “image” took major hits doing the bidding of his Master.

  2. It is carrot and stick tactic of the Roxas-Aquino administration. They used the peoples’ tax money as a favor to those who toe the line of what they want. Those who are against them, they withhold this financial favor.

    The Fund cannot be accounted for; so, we don’t know how much some went to their Pockets and Foreign Bank accounts…it is massive thievery on an accelerated pace. Their time is running out to steal; so, they steal fast now…

  3. I was looking for Grassroots Participatory Budget Process (GPBP) and I found this slide.

    Base on scan of the presentation, budgeting starts from LGU, the “bottom” and moves upward to the national government for consolodation.

    I’m not sure why Mar Roxas *should* personally give the cheques? 2016?

  4. Bing-Bong Bing-Bong, Make him into chop suey that Jing-Bong Bing-Jong, das is it das Bing-Bong Bing-Bong.

  5. One thing everybody should be asking is, “Who signed the checks that Mar Roxas doled out to typhoon hit areas and mayors of northern Mindanao?”. Nobody verified if these checks came from his own checking account. If they did, i assume the money was deposited into Roxas’ account. WHY? And who deposited it there? If the checks came from the National Government, why were they in Roxas’ hands? Who gave him the go-signal to distribute and where is the list of recipients? Where did the list come from? Who approved them? SOMETHING SMELLS SOOOO FISHY HERE!!!!!

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