Friday, July 27, 2007

The Philippines' Political Clans Control Billions in Pork Barrel!

Saw this article on pork barrel and the Philippines' political families a few days ago. Could be an interesting read. :)

From GMANews.TV:
  • A senator is entitled to P200 million in pork barrel, a congressman P70 million. Provincial governors and city and municipal mayors have access to the Internal Revenue Allotment, the local governments’ share from national taxes collected.

  • Many political families whose members hold national and local posts thus can lay their hands on billions of pesos in taxpayers’ money.

  • Twenty political families with many incumbent government officials elected last May have in their influence a total of close to P20 billion for this year.

  • At least nine families have access and influence over more than P1 billion each in government funds for 2007 alone, i.e., the MaraƱons of Negros Occidental, the Plazas of Agusan del Sur, the Garcias of Cebu, the Garin-Cari-Petilla clan of Iloilo and Leyte, the Espinos of Pangasinan, the Zubiris of Bukidnon, the Maliksis of Cavite, the Marcos-Romualdez clan of Ilocos Norte, Leyte and Navotas, and the Reyeses of Palawan.

  • Nine political families have members in both the Senate and House of Representatives. Thus, they have in their discretion P2.7 billion in pork barrel for this 2007 alone.

  • The legislators assign their pork barrel to their favorite projects. Some senators and congressmen, however, do not use up the entire amount they are entitled to.

  • Prof. Leonor Briones of the UP National College of Public Administration and Governance noted that powerful clans can call the shots when it comes to expenditures such as those on health and education. “The hanky-panky depends on how powerful they are… Total control by a dynasty is more possible in very remote areas like the Dinagat Islands or Masbate or Maguindanao," says Briones, former national treasurer.

That's a lot of money in my book! Or in anyone's book, mind you. With all the talk about the funds allocated for the honorable members of the country's political clans, I couldn't help but think about and ponder on the need for, and importance of, check-and-balance in governance. More often than not, an active civil society or the presence of a strong opposition council promotes a level of transparency in the local government. Thus, less graft and corruption. After all, public office is not private graft! Tsk.

And oh! Prof. Briones hit the bull's eye with:
  • "But certain political families managed to keep up with the changing times. There are so-called dynasties where younger ones are professionals, highly educated. They are not blatant. Mas subtle, hindi garapalan."
It's a tactful way of saying, "Power corrupts. Knowledge is power. Study hard. Be evil." And I kid you not!

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kegler747 said...

How can we rectify things especially the law when the ones who are supposedly making laws will not even discuss it among themselves as it may affect their major source of "livelihood."

eastcoastlife said...

I have business dealings with many Chinese Filipino businessmen and they are very well-connected to some political families.

They have priorities in government projects and corruption is so blatant.

They are very filthy rich and comes over to Singapore, snapping up million dollar apartments and opening accounts in Citibank to hide their millions.

When I visited Philippines on several occasions, I'm really appalled at the living conditions of many poor Filipinos.

Philippines is such a beautiful country and I'm touched by the warmth of its people. I hope much can be done for its people.

Best regards.

THE ANiTOKiD said...

You said it all, 747. Our lawmakers, though not all of them, continue to rape our country - they who are supposed to make the laws and uphold them for the good of all. Tsk!

THE ANiTOKiD said...

@EastCoastLife: I used to ignore this sad fact surrounding life in the Philippines. However, the activiites I spend with our misfortunate brothers and sisters, and sons and daughters have opened my eyes to the truth.

Graft and corruption touch every aspect of life in the Philippines - a very sad note indeed. And these corrupt officials make fun of the law during hearings and inquiries on alleged ill-gotten wealth - always in denial admist hard evidence.

I don't know where this blogging art will take me, but this I know: I'd like it to be a medium promoting political and social consciousness among the Filipino people.

Lupus Fighter said...

the money from the government is i think one of the reasons why lots of politikos run for offices.

THE ANiTOKiD said...

It seems to be, kabayan. And they don't stop there - they would go the extra mile and establish dynasties and all to complete their hold on to office and power.

Greed is indeed the root of all evil.

confessing7girl said...

hiiiii thanks for visiting me!! dont be a stranger!! and i just faved u too!! thanks

Anonymous said...

thanks for the comment.. i like your blog just the same way...

One Wacky Mom said...

I see my pal is over here...Eastcoastlife..and I missed your birthday!!! I'm sorry. I had a really bad week. But that's life.

Politics...politicos...mmm. Maybe you saw the little Saturday night live YOutube things on Grease your brain? The guys making fun of Barack Obama! I have to laugh at it all.

And that end of the day it's all about character. Not what color someone's skin is...nor what the door in their bedroom.

Pork barrel...cheating...stealing...from us..that taxpayers. It's disgusting. It all comes down to whether or not people have the backbone to stand up to do the right thing. And that takes courage. Something few people have. I'm working heavily on my book now...that's filled with true stories...and how arrogance gets in peoples way.

Oh well. I hope you had a wonderful birthday. I'm so sorry I missed it my dear friend. I do so apologize. My good wishes are with you!

THE ANiTOKiD said...

@Iloilo: Thanks for dropping by, kabayan!

@WackyMom: Sometimes I wonder what it would take for our elected leaders to shape up. When is enough enough? How much more do they need to steal? How much more do they need to be reminded that they are there for us and not for themselves. And how much more do we need to remind them that public service is just that - PUBLIC SERVICE, and not an avenue towards filling up their respective coffers?

Honestly, I'm sick and tired of the negative news. Yet, is it enough reason to stop trying to promote political and social consciousness among my kababayans? Is this a futile attempt to right the wrongs? To separate the saints from the sinners?

Good luck on your book, WackyMom! Please save me a signed copy when it gets out, okay? I'm going to buy one! And I kid you not!

It's always a runout at The Runout TV!