P-Noy pork, Congress pork: the difference-A A +A
Sunday, September 1, 2013
AMID noise and fury over pork barrel fund in Congress, of which at least P10 billion in public funds was stolen in a fraud of epic size and gall, some people asked, “What about the President’s social fund (PSF)?”
Palace resented being compared with Congress on fund handling and raised three arguments, the first two by spokesperson Abigail Valte and the third by President Aquino:
 Money for Congress pork comes from taxes, while money for the PSF is raised from net income of Pagcor and PCSO, gambling entities;
 The PSF is not pork barrel. “Pork barrel is layman’s term for PDAF,” Valte said.
 There’s no smell of any scandal involving PSF, a “trust fund” that’s audited regularly.
“Has anybody talked about misuse of PSF? There’s no logic there,” P-Noy said.
While money from Pagcor (which earned P5.2 billion net in 2012) or Malampaya (which amassed P173 billion since 2001) doesn’t come from taxes, they are public revenues which form part of public funds.
Control over pork
Limiting the meaning of pork barrel to PDAF is also an error as the term, to Valte’s layman, refers to funds for a particular district or purpose over which legislator or president has control. Pork barrel isn’t PDAF alone.
P-Noy, like presidents before him, has vast powers over PSF. There were anomalies at Pagcor. The Malampaya fund, mandated by law to be used for energy-related projects, has been used for other purposes.
PSF isn’t immune to corruption although it helps if the president is honest.
Safeguards will help more, be it a renamed PDAF or the PSF.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 02, 2013.