MAJORITY of the people nowadays are furious about the P10 billion scam of Janet Napoles, senators and congressmen and consequently they cry for the abolition of pork barrel.
Everyone is mad at those who were involved in the anomaly. Everyone is asking, “Where did the money go?”
All this time, we were expecting that the funds in pork barrel would help the people who are in need of assistance. If there are calamities, war or development for the community, pork barrel supports the needs for those who are affected. This is the main duty or purpose of PDAF but unfortunately, it was corrupted and manipulated.
Because of this unfortunate event, people want to abolish pork barrel to stop all the corrupt intentions. People want to make the taxpayers’ money safe because they can never tell that even if all the corrupt officials will be prosecuted, the next in line wouldn’t do the same.
Filipinos are now traumatized.
But let's also look at the other angle. PDAF is also a source of poor people’s financial health assistance, projects for the barangay, development of the community and preparation for calamities.
People may now generalize that congressmen and senators are corrupt and they are not doing their responsibilities and duties in serving the public. But there are still constituents who expect and need the help of officials and projects that are now pending because of this issue.
If pork barrel is abolished, there would be no funds for the projects, development and assistance for the people. It will be difficult for the officials to give funds if they don't even have any money to allocate for the benefit of the people.
Maybe we need a new system of pork barrel and not completely abolish it because it would also be a great problem for some people who are benefitting from it.
There should be a change in the system of the pork barrel because obviously it lacks transparency. Let the people know monthly or quarterly where the funds have been allocated and inform them initially of projects that will be implemented in the community.
In short, transparency is the name of the game.
It could also be that senators and congressmen can only be given money if their projects or purposes are approved. There would be no release of money without validation of projects.
Easier said than done. But we have to move and we need change. (Julia Toni L. Azarcon)
Sunday Essays are articles written by Ateneo de Davao University students for their advanced journalism class.