The President’s announcement of the alleged abolition of the PDAF or the pork barrel is proof that no government can ignore public opinion. Nonetheless, Centerlaw and the Concerned Citizens Movement express concern that what the President may have announced is only a change of name. PDAF used to be known as the CDF or the Countryside Development Fund. It was named PDAF after investigative journalists exposed the CDF as pork barrel. It may be that this alleged abolition of PDAF is yet to be another renaming.
To completely do away with pork barrel, what is required is to abolish all lump sum appropriations. Under the scheme announced by the President, legislators will continue to identify projects. This may mean that legislator’s discretion on project identification and implementation may remain.
Moreover, all forms of pork barrel must be abolished. Specifically, the Malampaya fund must be spent pursuant to the Local Government Code.This means putting an end to presidential discretion on spending this multi-billion fund. Likewise, the judiciary must once and for all also be transparent on its spending of the judiciary development fund. It must also make public and do away with the discretionary fund of all justices.
The President’s announcement today is proof that public anger cannot be ignored. We must not, however, be deceived. The pork barrel will continue despite this latest presidential pronouncement. WE STILL NEED TO OCCUPY LUNETA ON MONDAY, AUGUST 26, 2013, STARTING 9:00AM.