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.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.]
Not 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…
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.