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Pork barrel is a pejorative term for Priority Development Assistance Funds discretionary annual lump
sums of $4.5 million and $1.6 million provided respectively to each of the countrys 24 Senators and 289
Congressmen to pay for local infrastructure and development works. However, much of this cash is
simply ferreted away through bogus NGOs and nonsensical initiatives (like $115,000 for antidengue
inoculants although no dengue-fever vaccine is currently available). In addition, the cash is treated as a
slush fund for ensuring political patronage and successful re-election. It looks like everyone has their
hands dipped in the cookie jar, Malou Mangahas, executive director of the Philippine Center for
Investigative Journalism, tells TIME.

Although graft is endemic in the Philippines, the sweeping scope of pork barrel has stunned even the
most cynical. The scale emerged after a businesswoman named Janet Lim Napoles was accused of
laundering staggering sums of money for lawmakers. From 2009 to 12, Napoles allegedly provided at
least six Senators and 26 Congressmen with $224.9 million, according to an Aug. 16 report by the
Philippines official Commission on Audit. The 49-year-old former Laguna City housewife, who turned
herself in to President Benigno Aquino III ostensibly out of fear for her own life, reportedly took a cut of
30% while delivering the bulk back to the pockets of politicians much of it cash delivered furtively in
shopping bags.

The opulent lifestyle enjoyed by Napoles swanky houses, sports cars and a socialite daughter seen
hobnobbing with celebrities including Justin Bieber at L.A. parties spurred public outrage. People
were scandalized as you are dealing with a country where 80% of the people are poor, and the minimum
wage doesnt even reach the poverty line, only to find out that they do have money but they cant have
services because the officials are pocketing the money, says Harry L. Roque, professor at the University
of the Philippines College of Law.

In response, hordes of seething voters have taken to the street to demand an end to pork-barrel
discretionary funding. So far, however, Aquino has only gone as far as to offer more transparency. Under
touted reforms, each Senator and Congressman would maintain their current $4.5 million and $1.6
million allocations but must reveal where it is being spent a half-measure described as misleading
the people by Roque. Unless you remove the budgetary entitlement of politicians, he tells TIME,
there will always be pork.

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Although Aquino remains untainted by the most serious allegations, he has not been immune to
criticism. Aside from lawmakers, the office of the President also comes with a sizable discretionary
budget like calamity relief and there are calls for this to also be abolished, as well as
discretionary development funds for the judiciary and other arms of government. This comes with
political risks. There could be mutiny in the Congress if all pork is phased out, warns Mangahas.

Indeed, pursuing legal cases will likely prove troublesome, as both allies and enemies of the executive
have been implicated. It would be difficult to file suits against so many Congressmen, says Mangahas.
In addition, complex graft cases will take several years to reach the courtroom especially for the
expected charges of plunder during which time even more people could be implicated. Investigation
attempts are currently focusing on a paper trail via illicit bank accounts, but the likelihood of numerous
cash transactions could make gathering primary evidence extremely problematic.

Nevertheless, the strength of public feeling means that inaction is not an option. The President wants to
finish his term and he will make sure [something is done] as people are very, very mad, explains Roque,
adding that some token convictions will likely be forced through as quickly as possible. A long-awaited
Freedom of Information Act is also receiving widespread public backing as it will give media the tools to
properly investigate alleged impropriety. Im hoping that this anger will redefine Philippine politics and
end the cycle of vote buying and corruption, says Roque.

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Read more: http://world.time.com/2013/09/11/philippines-pork-barrel-graftprobe-has-lawmakers-squealing/#ixzz2gdHul1cp

The Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) is a discretionary fund in
the Philippines available to members of Congress. Originally established as the Countrywide
Development Fund (CDF) in 1990, it is designed to allow legislators to fund small-scale
infrastructure or community projects which fell outside the scope of the national infrastructure
program, which was often restricted to large infrastructure items. [1]\
The PDAF is commonly called the "pork barrel", and has been the subject of much public
criticism following exposs on abuses perpetuated by members of Congress on use of the
fund in 1996 and 2013.

The Priority Development Assistance Fund scam, also called the PDAF scam or the pork
barrel scam, is a political scandalinvolving the alleged misuse by several members of
the Congress of the Philippines of their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF,
popularly called "pork barrel"), a lump-sum discretionary fund granted to each member of
Congress for spending on priority development projects of the Philippine government, mostly
on the local level. The scam was first exposed in the Philippine Daily Inquirer on July 12,
2013,[1] with the six-part expos of the Inquirer on the scam pointing to businesswoman Janet
Lim-Napoles as the scam's mastermind after Benhur K. Luy, her second cousin and former
personal assistant, was rescued by agents of the National Bureau of Investigation on March
22, 2013, four months after he was detained by Napoles at her unit at the Pacific Plaza
Towers in Fort Bonifacio.[2] Initially centering on Napoles' involvement in the 2004 Fertilizer
Fund scam, the government investigation on Luy's testimony has since expanded to cover
Napoles' involvement in a wider scam involving the misuse of PDAF funds from 2003 to 2013.
It is estimated that the Philippine government was defrauded of some 10 billion in the course
of the scam,[1] having been diverted to Napoles, participating members of Congress and other
government officials. Aside from the PDAF and the fertilizer fund maintained by
the Department of Agriculture, around 900 million in royalties earned from the Malampaya
gas field were also lost to the scam.[3] The scam has provoked public outrage, with calls being
made on the Internet for popular protests to demand the abolition of the PDAF, [4] and the order
for Napoles' arrest sparking serious discussion online.[5]

8 Opinions About the PDAF Scam You Should Know

The Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), better known as Pork Barrel, is a
regular allocation of public funds to members of the Philippine Congress. Its designed to
give legislators easy access to capital so that they can earmark projects for improving
their respective constituencies.
At the same time, Pork Barrel is a frequent target for critics who says it facilitates
corruption. They say it makes it easier for politicians to divert money into their own

pockets, and perpetuates the patronage politics that has kept the Philippines from
We at 8List have compiled 8 varied opinions on Pork Barrel, a hot-button issue ever
since the PDAF Scam involving Janet Lim-Napoles become the topic of discussions
Representative Lani Mercado, 2nd District of Cavite

Representative Lani Mercado, 2nd District of Cavite

Basta huwag lang manghihingi sa amin ang mga tao! E, anong ibibigay namin [kung
wala na kaming Pork Barrel]?
Hindi naman puwede yung sa pinaghihirapan namin dahil sa personal naman namin
yun, sa mga anak, sa mga pang-araw-araw na panggastos namin.
Basta importante lang, may transparency.
Basta ako, meron akong ulat sa bayan. Isinusulat ko dun yung mga ipinapagawa ko.
Coincidentally, the 2nd Legislative District of Cavite comprises only the city of Bacoor,
which suffered heavy flooding thanks to Maring.
Senator Jinggoy Estrada

Senator Jinggoy Estrada

It is not up to the senators to determine whether an NGO [non-governmental

organization] is bogus or not.
Alangan naman na kami pa ang magsasabi na, Uy, bogus yan. How will we know?
Gusto ko lang malaman sa mga kinauukulan kung saan talaga napunta yong para sa
ating magsasaka dahil ang ating mga magsasaka, mga kababayan nating mahirap, sila
mismo ang nagre-request sa aking tanggapan na sila ay mabigyan ng ayuda
To summarize: Estrada said that its not his responsibility to check whether an NGO
allocated pork barrel funds is actually doing its job, but he does want to know where the
money goes.
Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago

Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago

[Pork Barrel are the senators'] personal responsibility. You cannot just plead that other
agencies have been created for the sole purpose of checking those NGOs [who have been
given Pork Barrel funds]. That is such a lame excuse. Its an evasion of responsibility.

President Noynoy Aquino

President Noynoy Aquino

Maybe what we should do is that those who misuse the pork barrel should really face
more serious punishment
If we take it out, that means we rely on the national government to know the needs of
every district and to solve these all the time. Thats hard to do.
There [are] already huge improvements in safeguards which have lessened the chances
pork barrel can be misused, but I think there are more ways we can improve the process
so there would be no opportunities to take advantage of them
At the very least, the president is consistent with his positive stance on pork barrel
allocations. See what he said about them during an interview conducted before his
Update: Seems like the President has changed his mind. In a press conference yesterday,
he announced the abolishment of PDAF:
There are those who treat the PDAF as their own private fund, to use as they please. This
is clearly wrong: What is involved here is the peoples money; it should be used for the
benefit of the people, and not for the benefit of a few greedy individuals.
The shocking revelations of this misuse the latest being the COA (Commission on
Audit) Special Audit Report in the 2007-2009 PDAF which was released this past week
are truly scandalous.
Sorry pigs, youve lost an ally.
Clare Amador, Department of Budget and Management Employee

Clare Amador, Department of Budget and Management Employee

For the 2009-2010 data, there is no specific amount attributed per Legislator
In 2011, our first year to craft the budget [under the Noynoy administration], there was a
decision to officially state the cap on the amount of funds Legislators can identify projects
for: 40M Hard (infra), 30M Soft (social services) for the lower house [representatives]
and 100m Hard and 100m soft for the upper house [senators] per member per year.
Amador is implying that its just a matter of setting clear rules and delineations for pork
barrel. She points people towards budgetngbayan.com for more layman-language


we firmly believe that any proposal to disqualify all NGOs/CSOs from receiving PDAF
or other government financial support is grossly unfair to the many legitimate CSOs
doing good work in many parts of the country and merely diverts attention from the true
causes of the pork barrel scam.

In their own words, CODE-NGO (The Caucus of Development NGO Networks) is the
largest coalition of competent, credible and committed development CSOs [Civil Service
Organizations] in the Philippines that influences public policies, shapes development and
creates tangible impact in its partner communities.
Citizens Congress for Good Governance (C2G2) Inc.

Citizens Congress for Good Governance (C2G2) Inc.

The pork barrel is the bargaining chip that the executive branch of government needs to
bribe and keep the lawmakers in tow. By not scrapping the pork barrel, President Noy
Aquino is showing to his Bosses (the people) that political expediency is the route to
take in arriving at his promised Daang Matuwid (the straight or righteous path) which
in actuality is the short-cut road to condemning the people to poverty.
This part of C2G2s online petition, which asks the Philippine Congress to abolish pork
Prof. Randy David

Prof. Randy David

Can pork be good after it is cured? Not in a political system dominated by insatiable
The wordplay is beautiful, and summarizes the journalists stance against pork barrel.
Bonus: Makibaka, wag mag baboy!
The rallying cry used for organizing the upcoming August 26 anti-pork picnic/rally is
inspired by the classic 70s slogan Makibaka, wag matakot!, and is the sibling of
the kolehiyala version: Lets make baka, dont be takot!

We are calling for the IMMEDIATE SUSPENSION of the PDAF!

Resolution has been filed with the House.
WHEREAS, very serious accusations were made by several whistleblowers against
certain individuals and entities claiming that the Priority Development Assistance
Fund (PDAF) of several Senators and Congressmen were illegally coursed through
fictitious persons or entities, disguised as Non-Government Organizations (NGOs)
for non-existing or unauthorized projects;

WHEREAS, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is presently conducting an

investigation relative to alleged anomalous practice and use of the PDAF, which
surfaced in the course of an investigation undertaken by the NBI in connection
with an alleged kidnapping of a person who later was placed under the witness
protection program;

WHEREAS, the alleged anomalous use of the PDAF has scandalized not only some
members of both Houses but likewise the institutions they belong to; and until the
matter is clarified, the continued use of the PDAF will certainly cast a cloud of

suspicion that said funds will be misused by those who avail of this;

WHEREAS, obviously, there is an urgent need to initiate reforms to improve the

system and provide better safeguards to ensure that these public funds are
utilized more properly and with utmost transparency and accountability;

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, as it is hereby resolved that the

implementation of the PDAF be suspended, so as not to further tarnish this most
hallowed institution of Congress, at least until the completion of the investigation
being undertaken by the Department of Justice.

Franklin Drilon, President, Senate of the Philippines
Feliciano Belmonte, Jr., Speaker, House of Representatives
Suspend the Implementation of the Priority Development Assistance Fund
[Your name]

Pork Barrel, Philippine Politics and the

By Adrian M. Tamayo
Pork barrel defined
Pork barrel has its origin in the American history. Prior to the civil war, the slaves in the
Southern part of America were traditionally provided salted pork as a gift to enjoy on
holiday. The slaves would run into frantic for the barrel . Kawanaka cited Evans that the
onrush of the legislators to get a subsidy was evocative of the stampede of the slave of
the pre American Civil war. Pork barrel formally defined as the appropriations of public
funds for projects that do not serve the interests of any large portion of the countrys
citizenry but are nevertheless vigorous promoted by a small group of legislators because
they will pump outside taxpayers money and resources into the local districts these
legislators represent ; an effective legislation and use of pork barrel results into the
legislator being re-elected. As defined by a Civil Society group in the Philippines, PDAF
Watch, pork barrel funds are those allocated to politicians such as congresspersons and
senators, to be used, based on their decision, to fund programs or projects in their
districts .
Keeping the pork thin or thick?
In a position paper of Nograles and Lagman to decry the scrapping of PDAF , it was
brought into the fore the origin of the pork barrel and how was it used in the Philippine
fiscal activity. It described the American colonial accent with the keeping of central
leadership of the ruling party with the pork barrel as spoiling incentives for the legislators.
Towing the line would mean an increased access to the fund without contest of use or
misuse during the martial law era. This offensive taking of the government fund by the

legislators resulted into a mechanism after the famous EDSA of the 8th Congress that will
ensure fund will make the unequal equal by setting up parameters, equal
apportionments, built-in accountability and transparency (Nograles and Lagman).
However, the current system provided a system where funds are included in the general
appropriations act (GAA) but as an independent item without mention of definite project.
Also, the GAA includes items where each legislator is given a definite monetary value
which is reflective of the projects that can be made out from the amount. Kawanaka
described the system vividly in lieu of the appropriation and the legislators control of the
fund as:
.legislators have been given items, namely the Priority Development Fund Assistance
Program (PDAF) and the budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways. While
an appropriation act is prepared in congress, no specific projects need be listed, since
these lump sum allocations. A legislator is given a free-hand to identify her pet projects,
programs within budget, and requests the concerned departments to implement them,
after a general appropriation act has been promulgated.
The above statement signifies the space accorded to the legislator to determine the
socially acceptable project in order to indicate bringing the pork to the level of the
constituents as demands are effectively meet by the legislators. Such provision of the
public good will be in competition with the executive branch with its implementing agency
working along the line of a systematic and sustainable development.
As it was noxiously termed, pork barrel was changed into an innocuous Countrywide
Development Fund in 1990 where which the intention is to fast-track development.
However, it evolved itself in 2000 into an even milder which up to present holds it name,
the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) .
The Philippine Constitution describes the separation of the powers between the
Legislative and the Executive departments with the former having the power of the
purse and appropriation while the latter has the power to implement or veto the
Congress resolution. With the Executive department directly engaged in the operation of
the government being apprised by the bureaucratic office of every agency down the-line
up, the Executive holds a better vantage than the Legislative department on the priority
needs of the whole nation, thus information of the important projects, programs which
can significantly re-structure the economic status of the poorest of the poor. This will
therefore place the Legislative department in a comparable insufficient situation for
project or program implementation. But with the intention of the separation of powers, the
check-and-balance mechanism will indicate the need for the later to determine the priority
needs of the whole nation thus allocation of fund, the monitoring and monitoring of the
same being the representative of the general public.
Such mechanism will ensure that the resource allocation is a constitutional public
spending and taking out of the purse mean thickening of the pork of the legislators.
Types of Pork barrel
Kawanaka (2007) described two types of pork barrel. The first type refers to the porkbarrel that focuses on the discretion of the national leaders. This emphasizes the tow the
line principle as it highlights the control of the leader over the members of the legislative.
The second looks at the characteristics of the legislators. This means that the legislators
stay in congress, position in the legislative branch, and expertise are factors that settle
distribution of the fund.
The first type tells that the legislators who are members of the ruling party are given
share of the government share in abundance as a mode of tapping the shoulder for
supporting the priority programs, initiatives and development projects of the Executive

department. The second type will stress the discriminating aspect of seniority, positions in
the committee to distribute the fund. The Speaker of the House, the House leaders will
have a greater piece of the pork.
The Pork barrel and its many influences
In Philippine politics, the manifest of legislated pork barrel includes construction of
waiting shed, single school room construction/re-painting of schoolrooms , road
pavement, local health spending, training centers, purchase of chairs,tables, computers,
scholarships, construction of overpass, livelihood programs and many other geographicspecific projects which would benefit a constituency residents of the political districts.
Of equally interesting case is the pork barrels legislation practices of the senators who
are elected nationally. In order to avail of the rent-seeking benefits, these politicians will
spend on a specifically defined geographic district that can assure of high voters turnout. Normally, these are political districts found in highly urbanized cities/provinces with
dense population catering into immediate remedies done through legislative spending.
Pork barrel is the misuse of the peoples money for the purpose of gaining political
advantage over a location-oriented accruing of benefits using a national budget.
The pork barrel legislation will cut expected efficiency of public finance. Rossi and
Inman (1998) described pork barrel as having a distributive nature of public goods citing
Lowi with benefits concentrated within an identifiable constituent group using general
taxation of government borrowing . This would mean, the whole society will pay for the
project which full benefit accruing to a small portion of the public. Allowing the legislators
to fund the local projects using a nationally legislated resource using the national
governments revenue will further thin out the slices of the pie thus pressing the
depressing conditions of the not politically aligned constituency even more poor.
The Rossi and Inman paper theorized that if the demands of the constituents were
echoed by the elected representatives, and that, it leaves no spillover effects to nonconstituents will result into inefficiency of public spending on the distributive goods, with
the elected officials crying for an increased budget for the constituencys needs while the
constituents share of paying in the form of tax declines. This is attributable to the nonzero elasticity of demand. This will lead into Harberger triangle which is an indication of
the problematic political economy, and a consequent reduction in the benefit of the public
The planned expenditure of the government will be hampered as a result of the PDAF as
the governments limited resources were used to fund locally-beneficial programs,
leaving national agencies deficit of budget of its carefully planned spending using the
most appropriate formula to address systematic perils of the society like hunger,
criminality and the chronic poverty and hunger. Also, it is hard to dissociate the
impressions of corruption in the dealings of infrastructure projects which leads into
usurping the DPWH with its notorious tag as the most corrupt agency, scholarship
programs with DEPED officials dirty hands and many other agencies. Proven or not, the
impressions of the public remained glaringly suspicious.
As earlier stated, the fund is a lump-sum allocation of the appropriations act, but with the
full discretion of the legislator on the amount, is an inviting scene for corruption.
Parreno(1998) described in a report for the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism
on the rates that a Congressman will be receiving as a cuts, kickbacks, commissions,
rebates and discounts are robbery done on the very poor. The report mentioned that the
contractors have to provide 30-50% discount or rebates to a legislator for granting the
contract. This will lead into reducing by 20% the cement on a road project making it
substandard the poor thus paying the high cost.

On the one hand, the PDAF is a representation of an effective leadership of a peoples

representative. If the districts needs for bridges, roads, bridges are meet due to the
PDAF or initiative of the Congressman. If the social benefit is higher on the benefit of
congressional project such as providing scholarship to students for training or formal
education belonging to a poor family but wanted to learn, the social and personal benefit
will be higher than the social cost as these individuals will contribute productively in the
society thus, reducing the risk of potential criminals and societys menace.
Also, the PDAF brings the government into the small units in the community who were
away from the short but caring arms of the State. The PDAF supports the small important
projects that will directly enjoyed by the district constituents hence, providing an
opportunity for democratic and productive practices towards economic development.
In Conclusion
The Pork barrel, PDAF or CDF in any of its moniker has its Janus face indicating its
sullen past and its likely future.
1. It had perennially showed that it will undermine the whole framework of the
organization, fund and budget, and operation in favor to a small and geographically
determined beneficiary.
2. When the benefit is large and the obligation of the constituents is small, there is the
tendency to demand for an increasing pork value. Pork barrel promotes inefficiency of
public spending resulting to a loss in the welfare of the greater number of people, that is
the marginal national benefit (benefit of carrying the national plan) against marginal local
benefit (political district project).
3. Looking at pork barrel as a reward for support of the ruling partys priority agenda, of
the attribute of the legislator may result to corrupt the officials of its slightest padding of
budget into the most horrendous misuse of public funds.
4. PDAF projects effectively and efficiently addresses the needs of the political
constituents as opposed to the national agenda.
5. The misuse of the fund will be reduced when the mechanism of transparency and
accountability will be put in place and appropriately implemented.
6. Pork barrel remained an American model which cannot be transplanted into the
political system of the Philippines as this will only cause the on-rush of the politicians to
get a share of the pork leaving the poor Juan crumbs for his family, and the generations
to come beholden to the vicious cycle of poor getting poorer and the politicians getting