BOTCHA

This I remember, when I was a kid, my science teacher taught us that pigs do not have sweat glands and thus, they waddle in mud to make up for reduced thermoregulation; this piece of information got me going through years of unquestioning in contentment. Guess what: Pigs have sweat glands; it’s the functionality in question. My whole life had been a lie, making me sorry for being not critical on the information I hear, receiving everything in good faith.

 

But here is something I found to be peculiar, one pig has been placed in hot seat, vigorously sweating being potential to be in hot water.  Amidst the figurative words you’ve encountered beforehand, one may easily relate those to one issue that has been very controversial for the past days. Moving on directly, this is the allocated Pork Barrel Funds of the government.

 

Let us have a short background first about Pork Barrel and its journey to the Philippines. Looking at the background of its etymology, the term ‘pork barrel’ was intended to be an insulting terminology; on the other hand, the historical context of the term came from those periods before refrigeration was readily available for preservation, where people brined pork in large barrels. In conclusion, the inspiration for the usage of the term may be traced in comparison to those slaves of America, and their eagerness to grab as much pork for themselves before they run out just as the politicians could be pictured out when the budget is made readily available for them and there they go, grabbing as much as possible for themselves, basically for their advocacies and service to local districts in the best possible way to say it.

 

Moving on, it has already been 1922, hundreds of years after the coinage of the term pork barrel funds, when the concept itself surfaced to the Philippine islands. This must be true the moment when a Public Works Act had been passed separate from the General Appropriations Act. It didn’t took the legislators long to make a version for the Philippine government. It was in 1950 when the first record can be seen that the selection of projects to be delivered was transferred from the secretary of commerce to the discretion of the legislators. 1960’s has been a time of having no pork but during the Marcos’ regime, many still claim that the dissolution of pork during these years doesn’t necessarily mean that there were really no pork, only invisible to the people which made it even more harder to trace where the funds were going, but many people point the cronies.

 

1982 welcomes the concept of SLDP or the Support for Local Development Projects funds; basically, this gave way to the introduction of the projects being defined into two categories: Soft and Hard projects. In 1990, the pork was reintroduced with a new identity as the CDF or Countrywide Development Project. 1992-1998 has been a fiesta of pork(s) as the then President Ramos introduced numerous new categories of funds falling under the umbrella of pork barrel funds in which many people point out that this was his way of remixing the taste of the congress to favor his legislative agenda. 2001-2010 were no better years as the government received lots of negative criticisms from the people as it was almost obvious that the pork barrel funds had been distributed in discretion of the president according to how much or how less and to whom the funds the president would want to go.

 

Currently, one can see that on most reports, pork funding doubled as compared from the previous administration; a news that the office of the president disproved through a statement. Doubled or not, the case of Napoles was no joke for any person in the country. For any reason, even if these funds rose from controversies and insincere motives, our presidents chose to continue the tradition of allocation discretionary funds where the legislators themselves who claimed to use the funds in genuineness and sincerity to providing services to their local constituents and the Filipinos in the highest form, also admitted that still, many other legislators, with their consciousness intact or not, use these funds to suffice self-interest at the expense of every citizen, from the most well-off down to those in the brink of death due to poverty. 

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