Abolition of PDAF: A Must
The Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), or commonly known as the “Pork Barrel”, is the fund or budget given to legislators as an allocation for their elected and suggested projects for the welfare of the people they serve. Every member of the legislative branch usually receives annual PDAF allocation of ₱70 million for the House of Representatives and ₱200 million for the House of Senate. The President of the Philippines as the executive branch of the Philippine Government also benefits from the President’s Special Purpose Fund (SPF), a PDAF-like allocation, worth ₱1 billion. But the question is, are these funds used on the projects for the Filipino people’s benefit? Or these are only used in accomplishing the lawmakers’ transactional goals? Are the lump sum appropriations that are offered to legislators both in the Congress and in the Senate used in the right way? Or these are becoming a temptation that leads to its misuse? Although some of the projects from the PDAF may be good and beneficial to people, it must be abolished for it deforms our presidential system; it becomes a conflict of interest among the legislators; and its discretionary nature stimulates corruption.
The first reason why PDAF must be abolished is it deforms or distorts the presidential system of the country. Why? First, it gives the government’s executive unit the excessive authority over the legislative body. It renders the president the power to influence the decisions of the lawmakers.Second, it blurs the separation among government branches. The executive, the legislative and the judicial branches are independent and have separate functions. Yes, they are interrelated but it doesn’t mean that they are joined together as one.They collaborate with each other and also prevent or hinder one another from trying to take too much power.And lastly, it promotes collusion or political clique among the executive, legislative, and local governments.If all of thesehappen, the Philippines will have a “disordered” and “sloven” government.
Another reason why PDAF must be removed is that it becomes a conflict of interest among the lawmaking body. Since the legislators appropriate funds they themselves will decide how to spend, there would be a big possibility that those funds will not going to be placed on proper projects because many of these lawmakers have their own personal interests and use the allocated funds for their own good.
Lastly, it must be abolished since its discretionary nature stimulates or encourages corruption. Like what happened to the PDAF allocations of the five senators namely: Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., Sen.Juan Ponce Enrile, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., and Sen. Gringo Honasan, that are being given to favored contractors and fake NGOs headed by Janet Lim-Napoles. They are all gone like bubbles in the wind.
It is argued by the supporters of the PDAF that it must not be removed because many projects from the said fund are good and beneficial to people like hard projects that include infrastructure (construction of roads, bridges, school buildings, sports complexes, barangay halls, etc.) and soft projects that include financial aid given to non-government organizations, cooperatives and foundations. But, are we really sure that the allocated funds are all placed on these projects? Or somewhat like a little percentage of it only?
Another argument by its supporters is that: “How about the people in the provinces? It’s only the PDAF which proves that the Philippine Government values and cares for its people.” Yes, it’s true but the real question is: Are all of the funds given to these legislators all spent and given to those people in provinces? Or they are just being fooled by these greedy officials and only a little portion of it was being given to them? Come to think of it. How can they be so sure that these officials are giving all the budget or allocation given to them to the poor people in the provinces, or in the cities? Or these legislators are just using those poor human beings for they have their own personal interest and plans in regards the money? Wake up. Open your eyes. You are just being fooled.
There are so many reasons why the PDAF must be abolished. It may have good projects, yes, but the issue encompasses beyond merely the projects. If this was so, then, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s impeachment was then a mistake for he also have good and beneficial projects for the welfare of the people. We never know, if the PDAF will remain, another scam again will take place like the controversial Fertilizer Fund Scam and the latest Pork Barrel Scam.