SO MANY problems, so little funds.

This is the tragedy that our country is facing. But this is neither shocking nor surprising. This is already common knowledge and almost common sense.

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

The approach should therefore be not to gripe, grouse and grumble. The response should be to accept and attack, struggle and prevail, and fight and win.

There are of course plenty of options - some easy, some difficult, some probable, some impossible. The first strategy will always be, as it is the campaign line of the new President, to totally eradicate corruption or to move heaven and earth to try to reduce it significantly.

There are other tactics as well, but one of the hottest topics now is the pork barrel of our legislators. There are those who want it abolished. There are those who want it retained, but somehow slashed. There are those who want it retained, in its entirety.

Instead of endlessly debating about what to do with the pork barrel, we are better off making the most out of it since the fact remains that our laws, rules and regulations provide for it at this time.

In any case, despite the difference and variance in stands and positions on the fate of the pork barrel, the new President has already categorically stated that the pork barrel remains, but it should be distributed equally and spent wisely. There you go.

We should turn this stumbling block into a stepping stone. We should break the walls that divide. We should build the bridges that connect. Or better yet, use the pork barrel to strengthen our education system - the ultimate equalizer, the jumping pad, the turbo booster.

How? The new President has to exercise political will, principled governance and visionary leadership. The new President has to mobilize most, if not all, of our legislators to allocate most, if not all, of their pork barrel to education, instead of specks and patches of projects here and there that really bring us nowhere.

The pork barrel can be allocated into soft projects and hard projects. For the soft projects, it shall go to scholarships for the poor but deserving students as well as research and training for interested and qualified teachers especially in the fields of English, Math, Science, Information Technology and the services sector. For the hard projects, it shall go to the construction of classrooms and the purchase of laboratory equipment and computer wares.

Nothing is lost. Our legislators could and should still identify to whom the scholarships, research, training, classrooms, equipment and computers will be granted. Our legislators could and should still get political payback and media mileage for their projects. Everybody will win.

If and when this is done, we shall be able to immediately erase the enormous shortage, increase our diminishing productivity and compete with the rest of the world.

Focusing the pork barrel into a singular target is a very solid, stable and secure option to solve the problems of our country even with little funds. It does not have to be for the entire three years of the term of the members of the House or the whole six years for the members of the Senate. The focus on education can be for one year only. Next in line after education for the first year can be health, social welfare, public works or whatever it may be so long as it is a common goal.

Our legislators should take this option, very much like one for all and all for one, very much like the three musketeers.

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