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Understanding the "Pork Barrel"

It is true as what it is said in the article, the public cannot appreciate what it does not
understand, about the concept of Priority Development Assistance und or its misconception as
"pork barrel" in the derisive tradition of its American origin! It was meant to be collected from
ta"payers and was meant to used for the benefits if the ta"payers themselves! But why give the
misconception#
$he PDA or commonly known as the pork barrel is said to be a valid and constitutional
e"ercise of the congressional "power of purse"! %mall pro&ects implemented under PDA
complement and link the national development goals! It is believed that the PDA is a cash
allocation given to 'ongressmen and %enators for their unlimited discretionary disposition without
any constraint or accountability but the truth is (ember of the 'ongress neither handle the funds
nor implement the pro&ects! $heir authority is limited to the identification of the pro&ects and
designation of beneficiaries! It got its negative impressions from its American ancestry as the
e"pression "pork barrel" alludes to the fatness of pork and is e)uated with political largesse in
American politics! $he pork barrel system patterned after American precedents pervaded the pre*
martial law 'ongress! During that time, congressmen had greater access to pork and en&oyed
uncontested latitude in its use making them more feared then than now! $he same problem earned
a new name of cronyism when it was (arcos alone who dispenses the pork with absolutely no
check on any abuse committed! It was only after the martial rule under (arcos that the
congressional allocations, dubbed as "pork barrel", had definitive parameters, e)ual
apportionments, built*in accountability and clear transparency! It aims to support small local
infrastructure and other priority community pro&ects which are not included in the national
infrastructure program! $he supremacy of 'ongress, more particularly the +ouse of
,epresentatives, over the appropriation of public funds are constitutionally vested based on
various constitutional drafts, statutes and constitutions! $he logic behind this is because the +ouse
of ,epresentatives is more popular for it has direct affinity with the people whose very own
money is to be spent! $he purpose for the appropriation was set by the 'ongress itself but their
power is only limited to specifying the pro&ect or activity to be funded under the appropriation
law! It is true that individual members of 'ongress are likely to be knowledgeable about the needs
of their respective constituents and the priority to be given in each pro&ect! $he utili-ation of the
PDA for "soft" and "hard" pro&ects is strictly circumscribed by a shortlist or menu of pro&ects,
re)uirements of utility and relevance, stringent procurement and public biding procedures,
accountable implementing agencies and mandatory post*audit review by the 'ommission on
Audit, among other safeguards!
.e cannot change the fact that even the strongest constitution has its weakness! $he PDA
was meant to be used for good and not like how the original American pork barrel system and the
practice of the old 'ongress before it was abolished (arcos! $here will always be the clever ones
who will do their best to find a loophole and try to make the benefit out of it for their own sakes!
Abolishment of the said allocation may be a good decision, but what about those who would really
like to take advantage of it for the rightful ones# %till we need to think of the conse)uences we
might face! .e might not know that there are a lot of pro&ects out there that is once being funded
by the PDA that helps the beneficiary more than the big and ma&or pro&ects! And with the
abolishment of PDA, these pro&ects will be abolished too!