By: Yvonne T. Chua
PRESIDENT Benigno S. Aquino III announced Friday his administration is set to “abolish” the infamous Priority Development Assistance Fund, or PDAF. But “pork barrel,” in reality, is staying.
In Aquino’s own words, legislators will retain the discretion to “identify and suggest projects” for their districts under a new mechanism the budget department and Congress will hammer out.
The epitome of transactional politics, pork barrel, or simply pork, refers to appropriations and favors obtained by a representative for his or her district. The funds are discretionary in nature.
The new setup Aquino is envisioning will, in effect, not abolish pork but simply centralize the district funds—PDAF will likely just be given another name—under the executive department.
But, as important, what should be made clear is, PDAF is but one, albeit the most conspicuous, form of pork barrel.