Despair of PDAF-A A +A
Saturday, September 7, 2013
THE latest news in the country has been about the horrible death of the passengers of a ferry colliding with a cargo ship in Talisay City. It is most depressing.
Between the dead body counts in the news also came the updates on a depressing scam in the government. In the same month, the sad news came along, the discovery of a scam in billions of pesos in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). What hurts the people is the rage surfacing when leaders look away at the sound of whistle blowers, brushing off “tales.”
“I'm so angry, it hurts!” was a young militant's indignant reaction to this latest news on scams.
As a result, pain makes the news not any different from the other.
The PDAF funding was meant for local needs and projects, for people who pay taxes and live by the law. But somewhere along the way, services do not go back to the people and there’s unfair distribution of developments throughout the country, besides the fact that it’s betrayal done on people who trust their leaders.
The legislators and local leaders were supposed to keep their hands off the fund and develop projects through national agencies and
programs for the people as built up by non-government organizations (NGOs).
The intention of this condition was broken right under our noses. The smart guys in the chamber built their own NGOs to receive funding, you could cry!
When we read about bad news, the feeling is low. And we read more, trying not to miss anything of the update, like in the case of the collision near Talisay shores of the ferry St. Thomas Aquinas and a Sulpicio Express cargo ship. And we get affected by the same wound in the tragedy of the revelation of our leaders corrupting through the PDAF.
The discovery of the treachery of leaders could hurt the simple man in the street, the plain woman at home and the young who would later become loud protesters against the government. For sometime now, as PDAF was later called “pork barrel,” our leaders used the name as if in jest even while nearly all legislators knew about the fund mess. Who would start to make confession on it in the Senate and in the House?
The pain of losing many lives in accidents is to the man in the street as painful as losing a family. And this loss is as deep a hurt as his right to the PDAF taken away in a betrayal. He pays taxes, he considers himself a good citizen, deserving what is due to him.
While the members of the ferry retrieval and saving team keep counting the dead bodies and the missing ones, the news on how Congress and the Senate in general keep quiet on the mention of the pork barrel is like counting names to put in the list of the guilty.
The protest rallies objecting to this unfairness have brought the term “pork barrel” into more than the usual attention of the neighborhoods in assemblies and in public statements made through media. The fund has spilled over to the wrong recipients, primarily to the politicians in office who swear that the fund went to the people and the real NGOs.
Pork is pig and there’s a history of idioms, mostly of the negative references to pigs. You have a flurry of the term pig in the English language in idioms—“as greedy as a pig,” “a glutton pigs out,” or “a road hog” dominates voraciously.
In the Senate and the House for years, the pork barrel as a term became part of the political language the way a politician could wallow in funds for personal use not even quite covertly.
And we keep on listening to the news updates on the march intended to put a stop to PDAF as it has become open to corruption, even as we get posted through media on the sea collision. We wait to see the guilty uncovered and counted, like the updates on the deaths.
On the first day of the ferry collision, media reported 52 dead bodies found in the sinking of the ferry. A week ago, the count reached 110 dead bodies uncovered as survivor teams went down the sea floor and entered rooms underwater where many passengers were trapped. There are still about 27 dead bodies for the team to look for.
As the news update goes on the pork barrel scam, the people are waiting for the start of the count among the guilty.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 08, 2013.