It is no hidden truth that the Philippines has always been ranked as one of the most corrupt countries in Asia and even in the world. We have always been accustomed to this fact yet generations have passed and we still are battling with the same major issue: graft and corruption. Political scandals have always revolved with this. Even presidents of the country have been tried for the malversation or illegal use of public funds. The Chief Justice, who is supposed to be steering the nation into justice is also no exception. We keep trying to put an end to corruption yet what we end up doing is ousting people seated in high governmental positions only to replace them with another whom we are not entirely sure will prove to be a more trustworthy public official. And most of the time, the ousting carries with it political motives, and not primarily the best interest of the people.
One of the biggest issues concerning malversation of public funds have erupted and brought to the knowledge of the Filipino people a little over a month ago that carried with it the name of a Businesswoman: Janet Napoles. This became a wake up call to the Filipino people. Not only was it the most scandalous, it also involved an alarming and astounding amount of money; money that belonged to the Filipino people; money paid by taxpayers, and all Filipinos alike through the value added tax; money that could have been used to feed a hundred thousand hungry mouths. It angered the Filipino people because that moneywhich belonged to us, faithfully transmitted to the government through our taxes, was supposed to come back to us through public services such as better roads and infrastructures, better governance, better hospitals and schools, better economic standing, etc. Yet what seemingly happens is that we are paying our public officials to buy more cars, build bigger houses, and shop for more extravagant luxuries.
Thus, proposals to abolish the PDAF or more commonly known as pork barrel are made by citizens and legislators alike. It has been and continues to be a topic of much heated debate. In my opinion, the pork barrel should be removed. In the years that it has been put into legislation, more and more politicians seem to see it as a privilege instead of a responsibility. More and more people who do not know and do not care about genuine public service continue to run for office for the allures of easy money. The pork barrel, to put it easily, is an avenue to easy and fast money. The 1987 constitution, which is the highest law of the land, does not provide for any provision that entitles legislators and public officials to a Priority Development Assistant Fund. Therefore, with legislation, it can easily be abolished the same way it was put into statute or law. Without the PDAF, there would be more transparency in the government. We do not easily shell out money to officials who could easily pocket them and use them for other purposes that would not benefit the public. More importantly, without the PDAF, the allure of wealth could be set apart from evil purposes and away from the intention of running for office to serve and only to serve. The temptation to steal is hard to do away with once you are already in position especially when all it takes is a signature and a few bogus documents, made up public projects or Non-governmental Organization or pretentious charity donations.
Even in my age, I can say that this pork barrel issue affects me because every time I go home to our province, nothing seems to change. The roads and the infrastructures are the same exactly as I could trace it back to my earliest memory. Auditing the use of the PDAF is not the solution. It is merely a half-baked remedy to an already concurring problem. Abolishing it will only open new possibilities and create numerous changes within our country. We shouldn’t be blind no more, enough with all the different stories related to the scam, what happened is done. Accusing one another in the senate won’t help them return the money that was stolen, what we need is a solution. And with the abolishment of the PDAF, we do not only secure the faithfulness of those running for office, we also take away the root of the temptation that has been causing the immoral act in the first place.