Pork by any other name stinks but what is pork?

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Thursday, August 28, 2014


THE basic problem is definition.

Pork barrel has been known as PDAF (or Priority Development Assistance Fund) in Congress and DAP (Disbursement Acceleration Program) in the office of the president.

It's not there anymore, at least in title and in the form that users and the public
can recognize.

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So Budget Secretary Butch Abad had the mask of innocence on a probably naughty face to ask protesters against pork barrel: What pork?

Definitely, it's not labeled PDAF or DAP anymore in the national budget and the money is not released in the same way that led to the humongous fraud: no specific amounts
allocated to each House member and senator and then funneled to a bogus NGO.

But what about lump sums in the national budget for 2015 with "vague items" and TBD (to be determined) purposes? Do they not give the departments discretion about their use, which can lead to the same scandal that plagued PDAF and DAP? Are they not secret caches that lawmakers can tap again as they did with PDAF and DAP?

What protesters have though are suspicions. No evidence of wrongdoing yet, no specific constitutional or legal provision cited as having been violated.

Initiative

A "people's initiative" on the abolition of pork barrel may be good for venting anger but it looks like a futile enterprise. They need signatures of at least 3 percent of voters in each legislative district all over the land. A shutout in one district is enough to kill the initiative.

Why don't they push instead for an authoritative definition of "pork" so that the look if not the smell would give it away?

(paseares@gmail.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 29, 2014.

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