It’s one for the money

It seems the corruption slogan of President Noynoy Aquino was nothing but rhetoric, a commercial jingle that urinates straight to your face.

The fight against corruption and excessive use of people’s money in the face of national hunger for food, justice and public service, it is turning out, was just to please a citizenry that was in the verge of losing hope against the evils of previous governments, from Aguinaldo to Arroyo.

It was all for the money, it would appear, for the chance to serve the new government of Noynoy III  and not the people who now have to cough up with additional expenses like higher toll rates, higher MRT and LRT fares, higher tuitions, higher electric bills, higher water rates, higher household bills and, may God forbid, higher value added taxes (VAT).

We are talking bout the pork barrel allocations of government officials starting from President Noynoy to the lowly but oftentimes corrupt and abusive baranggay chairmen and their cohorts now pending approval at Congress.

The pork barrel is on top of the gargantuan budgets for line departments each department secretary needs to spend or misspend depending on their appetite for pork.

The House of Representatives passed on second reading the day after the Feast of the Dead the Aquino administration’s P1.645-trillion national budget for 2011.

Despite claims that the Aquino government would work on a shoe-string budget, the congressmen retained their pork barrel, similarly called cash transfer funds )CCT), in the amount of P21 billion for the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

The biggest allocations came from the most notorious spenders of people’s money and usually perceived as the most inefficient and corrupt departments like education, P207.3 billion; public works and highways, P110.6 billion; national defense, P104.7 billion; interior and local government, P88.2 billion; and agriculture, P37.7 billion.

Social welfare and development got a fair share of P34.3 billion; health, P33.3 billion; transportation and communications, P32.3 billion; agrarian reform, P16.7 billion; and the judiciary with P14.3 billion.

Congresswoman Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) whom Aquino allies hate to no end, got P2.2 billion for her district.

“I really cannot understand why GMA is still getting preferential treatment under this new administration? Why are they trying to equalize the budget among all congressmen when the best solution is to redistribute Arroyo’s P2.2-billion pork barrel to poorer provinces that deserve it,” Senator Allan Peter Cayetano wondered.

In contrast, he complained, five House members have zero allocation in their districts, while others have less than P50 million.

“Why is she being babied instead of being punished? It appears that she is still well-connected with this administration,” Cayetano asked.

Ask Noynoy. His late mothers advocacy was there could only be justice if the Marcoses were to be punished..

Malacañang and a House committee agreed to tap P1.2 billion in lump sums in the proposed DPWH budget to bring to at least P50 million the infrastructure fund for each congressional district.

This is on top of the P70 million in Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), pork barrel allotted annually to members of the House. Senators are each entitled to P200 million in PDAF.

“Bawal ang wangwang,” the President declared on inauguration day. He might as well declare another bawal: Bawal ang whistle blower. It can shatter the ears of Malacanang. Raul Valino

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