Lawmaker’s lament-A A +A
Friday, September 6, 2013
THERE was this report on Page 7 of Sun.Star Cebu yesterday that said: “Scholars’ fate worries Cebu congressman.”
Being one who is biased in favor of our young pursuing education, that hit me like a slap in the solar plexus.
Sure enough, the story said that some 2,000 students who want to finish college may be affected if the President pushes through with his plan to “scrap the controversial Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
This pork barrel practice, which we copied from American politicians two centuries back is now assailed as anomalous and corrupt. The President has announced that he wants the practice abolished.
More so that it was uncovered that a wily businesswoman had devised a highly creative scheme of siphoning the lawmakers’ PDAF through the use of non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
The NGOs generate projects that are legitimately supported by the lawmakers’ PDAF as well as by other government agencies that avail of public funds to undertake the projects. But the projects are said to be over-priced or jacked up.
Of course, since the fund comes from the legitimate allowances or pork barrel money of senators and congressmen, nobody dared question the process wherein the money is shared by the business partner with the lawmaker.
However, lawmakers are not corrupt or cash-starved, so to speak. Many of them use truly their PDAF for the common good and for the advancement of their constituents, such as the lawmaker of Cebu’s fourth district.
That is the rub. The good is stained and condemned with the bad.
At least one senator, who perhaps did not follow the practice of making hay with her PDAF, condemned four of her colleagues who did.
Of course she did not openly say (or said anything that I heard or read) about what she did with her PDAF, unlike the lawmaker of Cebu’s fourth district who has 2,000
young kids in his district that were given scholarship through his pork barrel fund.
It is a most laudable deed, something that should truly be emulated by the other lawmakers in our Congress. If only for this, I am decidedly standing foursquare in opposition to the abolition of the pork barrel.
It is just that I do not want to see 2,000 young Filipinos who want to finish college frustrated in their desire to carve a better future for themselves and be better citizens.
It’s better to have good constituents to look forward to, than none at all.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 06, 2013.