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The J Spotter

Personal insights from the J Spot author J. Angelo Racoma
( this site has moved to http://jangelo.racoma.net )

The J Spotter » Pork is a Political, not a Developmental, Tool

Pork is a Political, not a Developmental, Tool

Pork is a Political, not a Developmental, Tool

by YVONNE T. CHUA and BOOMA B. CRUZ
(Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism/PCIJ)

As the country debates the best ways of managing the current "fiscal crisis," the focus once again has shifted to pork-barrel funds, the discretionary funds allocated to members of Congress. While some legislators have agreed to a cut in their pork, many others defend pork and justify its usefulness as a developmental tool.

The PCIJ's investigation, however, proves otherwise. This two-part series says that pork is primarily a vote-getting vehicle and a source of political patronage. It is also a tool wielded by the executive to buy the support of Congress for the bills MalacaƱang wants passed. Pork, moreover, provides an opportunity for lawmakers to rake in bribes and commissions from contractors of pork-funded projects.

The series explains how pork allocations grew from P12.5 million per representative in 1990, when the practice of giving legislators pork barrel was reinstated, to the current P65 million per congressman. The first part of the series shows how pork is used to keep legislators in power. The second part examines more closely corruption in pork-funded projects.

Read more here.
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