Tuesday, March 6, 2007


Just like in the US, our representatives also are allotted their very own barrels to use in whatever way that they see fit. Big difference is the utter lack of accountability. Politicians looking forward to an election need to give back a little bit more to their constituents lest they be accused of selfishness. This is the season when vacation-home-building and international junkets are momentarily put on hold. Pork barrel figures prominently among the reasons why politics has become a means to making a livelihood.

But will abolishing the pork barrel solve the problem? Certainly not. It will simply join the long list of widely publicized, painless and short-sighted solutions that don't directly address the problem. Most of the funds come from the significant remittances from our toiling citizens abroad. There is also a new source in the 12% Value Added Tax. When you stop disbursing funds to lawmakers (who really have no business dictating where the next bridge will be built, where the next school will be constructed, where the local health center will be located....) who will the recipient be? Will the money stay with the President? How are we assured that the President will act as a responsible steward for all the excess cash that is literally from the blood of millions of sacrificing Filipinos?

This is why long lasting reform will need to go deeper than mere administrative changes. Our leaders need to do a lot of serious prayerful reflection and find their way back to their original noble goals. We all need to return to the principle of "first things first". Poltics of virtue and politics of duty. The dignity and the development of each person must be the single most important priority of the State.

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