Friday, January 29, 2010

Kabataan’s Palatino, and Kapatiran’s Tamayo and David on the issue of Pork Barrel

January 23 2010, Bo’s Coffee in Glorrieta 5, Makati City – In the second part of Philippine Center for Population and Development (PCPD) and the Probe Foundation’s Mulat Pinoy Kapihan Series, Ang Kapatiran Senatorial candidates Lito David and Reginald Tamayo joins with Kabataan Partylist Representative Raymond Palatino and Dr. Zelda Zablan, a woman and reproductive health advocate.

Government resources and population dynamics is the 2nd Kapihan topic. Based on the primer that Mulat Pinoy created, the policymakers and government officials need to keep track of the latest population statistics to ensure that the government is able to allocate sufficient resources and provide the necessary social services. This is where the topic of pork barrel comes in discussion. According to Dr. Zablan, the government must base the usage of pork barrel to supply the needs of people, but at the same time the government should also work to solve the issue of growing population and the problem of urbanization. Here is the highlight of Dr. Zablan’s statement in line with population and urbanization in line with government resources:

The pork barrel differs based on the hierarchy of a politician: PhP70 million for congressmen and PhP200 million for senators. Rep. Palatino talked about his point of view on pork barrel and how it should be properly managed. Watch the video below including Dr. Zablan’s comment on proper use of pork barrel:

David shared his point of view on the issue of pork barrel and shares how it became big right now. Watch the video below:

Since we’ve mentioned pork barrel, I raised a not so brainer question during the discussion: 1.) Do we have a government agency that will monitor the usage of pork barrel properly, and if yes do they address the issue of improper implementation and corruption?; 2.) Aside from the wall painting, basket ball court, and beauty pageants are there any guidelines to consider in spending the pork barrel? Palatino answers that we have Commission on Audit (COA) to monitor the use of pork barrel including the proposal, but they don’t have the power to investigate and reprimand politicians who are possibly engaged in corrupt activities. The only thing that COA can do is submit a proposal but it the end, the case dies of natural death and the politician runs with people’s money. It is clear that we do not have a strong government agency that would answer the issue of corruption. COA’s action is not enough to address the issue of corruption. Pork barrel is not an issue here but it is the proper use and the proper monitoring of the agency that would not only send reports, but would investigate and act against possibilities of corruption. As for project implementation, I am aware that most politicians enjoy projects that would let them display their pictures and claim that it’s their project—just a reminder the money that is use in those projects were people’s money not with the politicians. There are many priority things aside from the beauty contests, to basket ball courts and wall paintings—they need micro-financing for livelihood programs, medical projects for municipal and barangay health centers. We need a long-term development and not just those with faces on billboards and posters. If the presidential candidates are really going against corruption, as all of their political ads say, then they should establish an agency that would totally focus on pork barrel implementation.

On the 3rd Kapihan Series: the focus is on population and housing. How will our future leaders answer the issue of increasing population versus the problem on housing and urban-planning? All of the presidential candidates promise “pabahay,” but the question is: Do they have concrete plans regarding this one? Let’s get this straight on January 30 at Bo’s Coffee, Glorietta 5, Makati City, 2 in the afternoon, for the Mulat Pinoy’s Kapihan Series.

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