The PDAF position-A A +A
I have issues
Saturday, August 24, 2013
WHILE it is true that much of the pork barrel scam has revealed how much our system of appropriation has been abused repeatedly, it still under no concrete circumstance has shown that it is without any potential for reform, but also more importantly that is a tool that congress should do without.
As a principle stand on the issue, I think the PDAF is still important, that yes it should be reformed, but it should not be abolished. Abolishing it will not only send a death sentence to a lot of good projects and initiatives a good number of our legislators have already pushed for, but it will also ultimately make it extremely difficult for any initiative outside the scope of an administration favored bureaucracy is going to accomplish traction for their projects and the interest of the constituents it serves.
It is true that the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) is a major source of corruption, but any element that involves finances and funding will be a source of corruption, this is not to say that conceding it as a pool means the pool itself is a mistake, this is only to say that corruption being an ill needs a more systematic remedy, but this does not start from shutting off channels, but making sure the channels where funds go in and out are well monitored, continuously checked, and are processed to accountable sources. The PDAF’s system of disbursement, assessment and evaluation can be improved. We already know its problem areas. In the Commission of Audits special report they reported the following to be areas to consider; the inadequacies in the monitoring of the releases priority projects identified by legislators, the lack of periodic assessment of the projects included in the PDAF menu and the inadequacies in the release of the PDAF for projects without completed documentation. This means we know what to improve on, but more importantly that the fault of our politicians, the human aspect can also be remedied by an equal amount of human resource: vigilance.
But why is the PDAF important? Out of the many areas where representation is important, the PDAF is one of the best measures to distribute power and resource without falling prey to a logjam presented by usual government bureaucracy. While it is true that we elect legislators purely on the interest of forming our laws, and laws for their constituents, it is a mistake to confine them purely under that position. Legislators need some material affect, because quite often laws are not easy to pass, and most of our congressional interest is in pursuit of what is a greater collective good. This means that usual problems that constituents can feel and legislators can see cannot and should not wait for national solutions, otherwise that interest will have to continuously compete with national interests. the PDAF is the best means for them to assist these concerns. We have to assume that in this case the system does rely on good faith to mobilize these interests, but isn’t this the same kind of benefit of the doubt we extend to our congressmen and senators when they win their seat? Under a system where it works, the PDAF is an efficient means of developing areas outside the scope of bigger government. As its namesake suggest, it is to allow priority for certain aspects of development legislators can see, and constituents need to access right away.
The PDAF is a noble system, yes the system has been corrupted, but much of Philippine Government has been, but this does not mean we have not made strides to correct it, we can and we should. But this does not equate to abolishment.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on August 24, 2013.