Within the twenty-three (23) years of my existence, I’ve never heard about the term “Pork Barrel” until the month of August this year came. And I wonder why it involves money when it talks about pork with the term itself? Well, this is how unaware I am. I wish I am the only person who has this “Pork Barrel Ignorance”. This term has been so famous around the globe when the pork barrel scam popped up in the Philippines, my dear country. Now, let me know what pork barrel is. According to the brilliant Mr. Wikipedia, pork barrel is the appropriation of government spending for localized projects secured solely or primarily to bring money to a representative’s district. It is the term used for Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). Oh! The real meaning of this term is beyond my imagination. I know this sounds funny, but but I really thought that pork barrel simply means “Pork inside the barrel”. I finally came to my senses and got curious about this. I spend time searching and researching about it, I watched the news, listened to lots of commentaries and I’ve learned that it is the sum of money coming from every Filipino citizen. In what way?
Employees understand this because they pay taxes every month out of their salary. And not only that, even those unemployed who buy goods everyday also pay their taxes through the goods itself. Every year, senators and congressmen are given millions of money by the government taken from the taxes for their respective district’s assistance. Millions? If that is the case, why there are millions of Filipinos who are still suffering from famine, sickness and illiteracy? Hmmm.. I smell something fishy. According to the reports, pork barrel funds have been corrupted or should I say misused by the few individuals who are in power. I don’t want to name names because I know that you know who and what I mean. I’m just wondering where is the individual conscience of these people. Yes, they live a life of luxury and not considering the fact that millions of their “Kababayans” are suffering from scarcity.
In the first place there’s nothing wrong with pork barrel because a fortiori of this, is for the public’s own welfare. This is the source of assistance. But the distressing fact is that the people who handled this, smudged the essence of this so-called funds. Knowing all of these, a realization came into my mind: pork barrel can be the source of hope and help but at the same time it can be the source of corruption.
I am so glad to finally know what pork barrel is because now I can say: “Fellowmen, let your anguish be heard. Speak and act now. Exercise your freedom to express and let’s support abolish pork barrel!”