‘Hateful’ pork-A A +A
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
IT IS difficult for anyone to express contempt for anything that had been essentially useful to people in need, regardless of how they were able to get the help they needed. But it is said there are many people who are showing their deep animosity against the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel.
The way our people are mired in poverty, they need the benefits from the “pork” in order to have at least a momentary source of livelihood and an assurance of survival even for just a few weeks or months.
It is easy to understand, therefore, why there are hundreds of people who are now opposed to pork or the PDAF. This is because of the notion that the PDAF is money from the taxes of the people but is willfully siphoned off to pockets of those with fake non-government organizations as conduits.
The painful reality is the participation of some legislators who, knowing the poverty of a great majority of our countryside inhabitants, allowed the use of their PDAF as tool of a great public deception at the expense of their constituents.
A point that I do not wish to succumb to, though, is the move of those who wish to abolish the pork as a means of curtailing corruption.
The pork barrel, by its origin in the politics of early Americans in the northern United States, was not a bad, corrupting practice. Or why should eating pork given out during a political rally be corrupting?
What is corrupting is the poverty of our people that PDAF, if properly handled and used, could truly alleviate the people’s poverty.
If provision of legitimate government funds is extended to members of our Senate and House as a means of “nourishing” legitimate political causes, why should our people oppose such a worthy social objective in a political democracy?
Another point I wish to bring out is the fact of the mass poverty among some 70 percent of our people, more or less. Poverty also hounded the 43 women who were saved by the authorities from two Mango Ave. bars in Cebu City. More than ten of them were believed to be minors, while the rest were adults.
The report said that 28 of the adults were later released after they confessed they had long been working in the bar, and they were taken in when they applied, hence they were not recruited.
The bars were raided when the police, using decoys, were sure that the establishments had become fronts for prostitution. Six pimps were arrested from the bar when the decoys gave P3 thousand to the six for pre-arranged sex.
But my point here is that poverty did generally drive the girls to play with their flesh, and make money out of it. If the girls had earlier encountered a kind of PDAF or pork barrel in their places of origin, would they have become wayward women?
I doubt it. The honor and moral values of our people are much too precious to lose, unless the individuals are hungry and need to survive. Yes, they could hate pork barrel but they may not want to abolish it because it could feed them and help them to earn a living.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 25, 2013.