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President, I rise today on a question of personal and collective privilege. Last week, we passed the Senate version of the General Appropriations Bill of 2003. No less than the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and principal sponsor of the bill aptly described the 2003 budget as "bare-bones", thus appealing to his colleagues to contribute their share to arrest the projected budget deficit which our economic managers expect to hit the PhP300B mark by year-end. I now answer the call. I call for the scrapping of a very corrupt and corrupting system in our political institutions. All I ask are a few minutes of your precious time - and of your mind. We now must move to abolish the pork barrel system. We must see its end during our watch without need to mourn its loss. It is a virus of corruption that must die. And, there is no better hall on this space on earth to make it happen than the Senate - expectedly, a place of men and women with mature age, with honor, with dignity, with integrity. Further, there is no better time to declare its end than now when the country's budget deficit is at an alarmingly uncontrollable pace. For the past year, it was PhP213B. Of course, we do not believe the numbers. One thing, I may say is apodictic. It is still counting. There is nothing in the pork barrel system that gives us pride. There is only everything that makes us hide in shame. It should not matter anymore under what name the system sounds. Be it the Countrywide Development Fund, or the Congressional Initiative Allocation, or the Priority Development Assistance Fund. It is, and will remain to be a fund of compulsive corruption. The name itself traces its origin to the pre-civil war days in the United States when, in periodic fits of generosity, white masters would give their black slaves salted pork in barrels. More often than not, the eagerness of the slaves would result in ugly shoving and rushing to grab more pork than the others. The more pork one could grab for himself, the more triumphant he would appear than the others who were meek and reluctant. We may not realize it, but the Filipino people would sometimes see us behave like
• 14% goes to the contractor .slaves rushing to the pork barrel.20% of project cost is earmarked for the legislator who identifies the project. as well as school supplies get bigger takes." In a book published in 1998 by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism. if the Mayor or Governor so demands. depending on the insatiability of the corrupt.10% in profit and 4% as value-added tax.P. Thus. President.that of swines rushing to get more slabs than they can consume. A critic has a worse description . • 10% is given to the district engineer and other officials of the Department of Public Works and Highways. Holy mackerel! We can pretend all day not to know. a shameful twenty percent of the fund is left to finance the project. More than half habitually goes to the pockets of corruption. entitled. Mr. They become profoundly disillusioned every time they are robbed of it. only less than half of the taxpayers' money actually goes to the programs of work. "Pork barrel" every year runs to billions of pesos." the author wrote about vivid accounts of actual pay-offs involving legislators. thank God! • 5-10%. Mr. But they must hear what we have been afraid to say.O. • And . It is nasty. our countrymen expect to see every peso of their taxes wisely spent on every project. a pay-off usually takes place inside the office of legislators. Let me give the breakdown. Under the pork barrel system. Sulo Hotel in Quezon City is said to be a favorite. President? Some suppliers say. Even the billboards that advertise the proponents of infrastructure projects are overpriced.hold your breath . But the Filipino people have never been stupid not to see through such pretense. • 2% is passed on to the Barangay Chairman. I hate to say it. Occasionally. Let me say now what they hate to hear. it is. The more sophisticated ones prefer hotel rooms and restaurants. "from here to eternity. Legislators who allocate funds for the purchase of medicines and other pharmaceutical products. Shares sometimes vary depending on greed. By how much. • 2% goes to the Commission on Audit as S. "Pork and Other Perks. The people hate to .
The figures I brought out earlier are never a figment of my imagination. And we seem not to mind anymore. at PhP65M each. those with clear conscience among us do not need to rage. How? Let's try scrapping the "pork. Mr. With more than 200 congressmen. Mr. In this regard. President. However. my esteemed colleagues. The Speaker of the House. . The public has every basis and right to suspect. no matter how small. I. that would be another PhP13B at least. at PhP211M each. Let us be the first to sacrifice for the sake of tiding us over a financial nightmare. But they lose billions of pesos anyway.hear it. That is exactly my point." There is life without it! We all know who we are and what we are on this issue. It is only to say that we have all become suspect. Mine are not speculations . Jose de Venecia. can equally display his statesmanship by doing the same in the lower house. I have an unsolicited advice to the distinguished gentleman from Makati and the Bicol region . With twenty-three senators.I definitely have my own sources. President.why not slash the 2003 national budget by PhP211M more? To all of us in this august chamber. They lose these billions to the many deep pockets of corruption. Those among us whose hands remain untainted and unsoiled by the fruits of corruption from the evil "pork" must now be insulated from the temptation it may bring upon us. it is a simple choice between self-respect and self-aggrandizement. One colleague. We can actually do our share. may I take this opportunity to thank the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and some of our colleagues who have expressed support to this advocacy. there is no saying here that every senator or congressman is corrupt. in balancing the budget by doing just that. call on the Senate and the House of Representatives to voluntarily give up the pork. That is the reason why I want my allocation this year deducted from the proposed 2003 GAA. That is one thing we are all sure about. Mr.853B) will automatically be deducted from the 2003 national budget. eight hundred fifty-three million (PhP4. They only need to help those without it. therefore. Senator Joke Arroyo has done something truly admirable: he had not allocated a single centavo from his "pork barrel" allocation for the past year. I cannot help but wonder how his PhP200M pork was realigned since it was part and parcel of the 2002 GAA. four billion. President. maybe we can help alleviate the burgeoning budget deficit by waiving our 2003 pork barrel fund allocations.
said in a media interview immediately after my position on the "pork barrel" issue first came out.If the "pork barrel" stinks. not to build roads and bridges. we can all become better statesmen and public servants. Ironically." Its advocates invent new methods and formulas to make every legislator happy. a politician places the nation at his own personal service. was correct." With the "pork barrel" system. There are all kinds of arguments to defend the "pork. and not to accept fat checks to enhance our bank account balance. President. in the mind of every Filipino. Mr. he who declared the lowest asset in the lower house at eighty-one thousand pesos. "while a statesman places himself at the service of the nation. President. "mabuti pa si Lacson ay may ibang pinagkakakitaan na illegal. does it not occur to us how equally guilty they think the legislators could be? Mr. I remember BAYAN MUNA Party-list Representative Crispin Beltran. we were elected by the Filipino people to make good laws for the common good and never to make gold under the "pork barrel" system. We are here to make laws. we are all perceived as dirty. I am sure to lose some friends and create more enemies in this 12th Congress. he paused and started to stutter. corrupt and greedy politicians. the Supreme Court has ruled on its constitutionality. the late Jean-Raymond Pompidou. I am sure skeptics will taunt me and the cynics will mock me without end. In fact. and I quote. He said. they are all mad and madly corrupted by it. Without it. But the Supreme Court never ruled that scrapping the "pork barrel" system would be unconstitutional either. I can only hope the Senate leadership will take a serious look at this proposal and not simply toss it to the dust heap of the Philippine Senate history. Another congressman commented that this representation would not need to make money from the "pork . Paano naman kami na sa "pork barrel" lamang umaasa?" Realizing that what he said was an instant give-away. Former French President and Prime Minister. I know that the pork barrel system has never been legally flawed. There is a whale of difference between a politician and a statesman. how much longer must we suffer the stench? I believe it is time to abolish it altogether. pardon my asking. Whenever our committees investigate anomalies in government. We were voted into office to provide check and balance under the principle of powers.
President. "I have a lot in some foreign banks. Or. But the people surely hate what they already know about." Mr. so be it. we all go down under. Mr. It is time to bring the "pork barrel" system down. We can surely live without "pork. I derive no pleasure in telling what I have told. there is life without it. if this is my misfortune. It is not the one I cannot possibly learn to live with. President. I am sure many colleagues derive no pleasure in hearing what they just heard. Thank you very much! ." Certainly.barrel" because supposedly.
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