Understanding pork barrel politics

CHEERS TO the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) for its five part-report “Pigging out on Pork” reviewing the processes involved in the disbursement of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and discussing how the system makes it vulnerable to misuse and corruption.

According to the report, “instead of primarily being a means of helping more people gain access to basic services that the government should have provided them in the first place, PDAF remains a political tool wielded by those in the legislature and the executive to serve their own interests.” (“PDAF racket rocks ‘daang matuwid’” ; “Bailiwicks, not poor towns, grab slabs of House PDAF”)

PCIJ analyzed PDAF records under the Aquino administration and interviewed Cabinet members, lawmakers, and beneficiaries. The report  on the status of the PDAF projects of the legislators found that more support goes to vote-rich areas, particularly to their respective bailiwicks and hometowns, and noted conflict of interest issues. (“Senators’ PDAF floods NCR, vote-rich provinces”)

The report also included Vice President Jejomar Binay’s annual P200-million PDAF, of which his pet projects take precedence and places him well ahead of the May 2016 campaign and elections. (“Binay bags P200-M PDAF: Pork train to Malacañang?”)

PCIJ exposed the practice of some lawmakers who give pork barrel funds to small, unknown, and/or non-existent foundations and/or non-government organizations, which have failed to account for the grants they received. The report found these groups might have been favored because lawmakers are related to the leaders and/or organizers. (“Bogus, favored NGOs fail to account for P770-M pork”)

Also see: GMA News special on “Pork Barrel”