I see so many frustrated commenters on my social media and blog expressing dismay at the seeming lack of interest of people in the scam which prompted me to write another post about the topic.
The Pork Barrel Scam directly affects all of us. No one can say their lives are okay so it doesn’t matter.
Because the country, and all Filipino’s lives could have been much better if that money had been used for the country.
In the latest article by Rappler titled “Napoles NGO’s got P2.1 B in pork – COA“, Leila De Lima reveals that at least P6.156 BILLION of Pork Barrel Funds were released to questionable NGO’s. This audit began 2 years ago and only covers the years 2007 and 2008 alone. Of the P6.156 Billion, P2.1 Billion were confirmed released to NGO’s established by Napoles. (See full report here).
Imagine, P6.156 Billion of our hard-earned tax money has, according to De Lima, disappeared.
To make it more concrete for us regular folk, what can P6.156 Billion buy for the country?
That is the equivalent of 61,560 houses in Gawad Kalinga assuming a cost of P100,000.00 per house. This means homes for 61,560 families from poor communities.
That is equivalent to 1 year salary of over 23,310 new public school teachers at a starting salary of P22,000.00 per month .
That is equivalent to 1 year’s salary of over 42,750 minimum wage earners in Metro Manila at the current minimum wage set at P446.00 per day.
That is equivalent to countless roads, improved public transportation systems or even a renovation of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport that was voted the worst airport in the world.
To think that they have barely scratched the surface of this as they are only at the books for 2007 and 2008. The news also implies that Janet Napoles isn’t the only person engaging in this form of “creative accounting” as only 1/3 of the funds found to be misused were verified to be directed to her companies. They are bound to find a lot more information and names if they continue to dig a little deeper.
Think of this, if the money meant for the Philippines had indeed gone to projects that benefit the country, could it have been possible for the government to actually LOWER taxes because the input of funds into the government to finance the operations of the country is more than enough? Is it possible that the country could have been out of debt right now?
This Pork Barrel Scheme goes beyond kickbacks. At least with kickbacks there are REAL projects and the costs are only inflated. That’s actually bad enough as it is because you only get 1 building, for example, when you could have gotten 2. However, this is infinitely worse. In this case there is NO project at all and the funds just disappeared… funneled into ghost projects that benefitted no one.
Senator Jinggoy Estrada cheekily said that they are not required to check on the NGO’s they release their PDAF funds to . That’s weird. Let me ask you. If you give your househelper P1,000.00 for household needs, don’t you expect her to come home with the items needed, a receipt and the change? If, one day, she comes home without the items, without a receipt and without any cash. What would you assume?
In the same way, the PDAF allocation was handed over to the politician with the trust of the Filipinos that the money will be used for infrastructure or other projects that benefits the country or its citizens. It is therefore their responsibility to make sure that money is used in the correct projects that were actually implemented.
Since I first posted on my blog about Janet Napoles and the Pork Barrel Scam, many things have happened.
Janet Napoles is on the run and missing because the arrest warrant has been issued for the illegal detention of her ex-assistant Benhur Luy. The church has warned that she is to be given NO sanctuary if she turns to them for help.
The news agencies have started actively reporting on the scam and Janet Napoles, releasing more and more information for the public who are clamoring to know more. Inquirer has even started a special banner that links you to a summary of all the articles about the Pork Barrel Scam.
It is heartening to see so many news reports about the PDAF Scandal when it was practically silent a few weeks ago. It is good that more whistleblowers are gaining confidence to release any information they know about the scam as lawyers have volunteered to represent them for free. It is good that some government officials like Leila de Lima have expressed their determination to fully investigate this scandal and indict solons involved if the evidence points to them.
All the Filipinos want, and deserve, is a full, thorough and completely transparent investigation of the Pork Barrel Scam and all the people involved. It is not necessary to call for bloody revolution as it is counter-productive to the growth in economy our country is currently enjoying.
Instead, all Filipinos can do is spread the word about this to everyone — rich AND poor — in our circles of influence in order to increase awareness. People must be made to understand the implications of what has happened and how it affects them. The people in government must be made to realize that this issue will not go away and the Filipino’s attention will not be diverted.
I’m sure any solons that are innocent can easily provide the necessary receipts, photos or documents to prove that the projects their PDAF went to are legitimate. Their names will then be cleared and the investigation can be focused on other parties. It is not enough for them to cry innocence and expect to be believed.
It is important for PNoy to fulfill his promise of ZERO tolerance for corruption and order an open investigation if only to renew the trust that has been destroyed by years of corruption.
The Philippines should take a page out of Singapore’s book and their own struggle against corruption. Their answer: reducing opportunities by increasing the punishments and immediate investigations of even a hint of an allegation of corruption of any public official; and reducing incentives by improving salaries, benefits and working conditions of civil servants. (See full article here). Why reinvent the wheel if it has already been successfully accomplished by someone else?
Until then, don’t give up on the Philippines. Change is possible…
Come on President PNoy! It’s the moment of truth… show us what you’re made of.
Always remember that the future comes one day at a time. – Dean Acheson
Taken from: http://www.brainyquote.com