Pork Barrel Issue Essay

Second in a series

“The culprits and the senators should return the money. They are setting a bad example for the youth.” —Benj Lopez Roy, 17, High-school junior, International School Manila, Taguig

“The pork barrel scandal opened the eyes of the Filipinos to the reality in our government. It made us realize that corruption in our country can no longer continue, which we showed in the Million People March. The pork barrel system may allow leaders to get our taxes, but it also helped a lot of leaders, who benefited and made use of the funds from it.

“If we do abolish it, where will our taxes go, and what will happen to the people who benefited from it through schools, hospitals, and other projects? If we fight for reform, then we will be able to fix the loopholes and create transparency in the pork barrel system, which will  give way to good governance.

“We, the public, can’t totally stop government officials from abusing their power because that is the person’s choice. But we can improve our government by voting for the right leaders, and not just because you got paid to do so. We can also demand transparency in every project or program that affects us, because we have the right to know.” —Tabby Marinas, 15, Third year high school

“The pork barrel scandal is what government corruption is all about. While pork barrel, as well as other rules and laws, were imposed with good intentions, it was easily manipulated and has become a big scandal that had people protesting in the Million People March and on Edsa. The scandal  should be enough to help the government understand the flaw in its purpose, as well as question the integrity of those who were put in charge and abused their authority and responsibility to the people.

“While people can march for the abolition of pork barrel, we also need to fix the heart of the problem in order to stop government officials from abusing their power—by electing those that we know and trust to do what they’re meant to do as a representative of and for the people, and not take advantage of that power for their own personal profit and gain.” —Maia L. Paterno, 16, Third year high school, International School Manila, Taguig

“I think the pork barrel situation is a very good testament to the deteriorating state of our government. It shows exactly elected officials are capable of manipulation, corruption and deceit. In my opinion, an issue such as this could be solved if more transparency was added into the budgetary system. The people should be given more constant updates as to where funds such as the pork barrel go.” —AJ Pineda, 16, Third year high school, Beacon International School

“It is obvious that the pork barrel is not a working system in the Philippines because of all the injustices that have been brought upon us. The system itself is not the problem, because if used properly, many people will benefit from it.

“The problem with this situation is that many of our government officials misuse it for their own benefits… We have politicians who are merely famous people who want to try and serve in government when they don’t really know what to do. On the other hand, we also have politicians who are eligible for the position but are not capable of making laws and just put the money into their pockets. The effects of these are lethal, since the future of our people is jeopardized.

“At the same time, there is little to no improvement from the so-called ‘governmental projects’ that many politicians claim to be working on. This is evident in our lives, since all of us experience hardships because of the lack of services from our government. Having streetlights on a major road is necessary, all the more when it is constantly being used by thousands of people everyday. These things are supposed to be prioritized by the government, but because of the pork barrel, these necessities are not met.

“The public can prevent government officials from abusing us by voting the responsible and trustworthy, and by changing the system to prevent politicians from keeping  the money for themselves.” —Ged Poe, 16, Third year high school, Xavier School

“I think that the pork barrel scandal  needs to be thoroughly investigated, and let all guilty parties be charged in court. This scandal has shown the true colors of the government, and has been an eye-opener to the public. Over the last few weeks, it has also been fought over and disputed, so the public should clamor for new laws to prevent these kinds of abuses from happening again.” —Luis Recto, 16, High school sophomore, British School Manila, Taguig

“The pork barrel should be removed because it’s a temptation to public officials. I don’t think there is a way to stop corruption since it has already become part of the system, so just minimize all temptations or chances of it.” —Kyle Maxine Romero, 16, Freshman, University of the Philippines Manila

“Although the pork barrel was initially implemented for the development of the Philippines, there is no doubt that its abolition will be better for the country. The scandal has shown how flawed the PDAF is, and the extent to which it can be exploited and abused. Corruption in the Philippines is a major issue; the public must make smarter and more informed choices about the officials they vote for during elections.

“Hopefully, movements like the Million People March and the use of social media (Twitter, Facebook) to name-and-shame those involved in the scam will show government officials that they cannot get away with such immoral, illegal and corrupt acts.” —Katerina Sicat, 18, Freshman, University of Pennsylvania

“Sa tingin ko dapat panagutin ang dapat panagutin. Sana mas maging maingat ang gobyerno ngayon at maging aral ito para sa kinabukasan. At sana rin tuunan na lang nila ng pansin ang giyera sa Mindanao.” —Mark Joseph Solomon, 16, Out-of-school youth, Paco Market, Manila

“The pork barrel scandal really hurt the common people because they work hard and pay taxes as responsible citizens.

“Government officials should first have values. If they know what respect is, they will not do this to the people.

“The public should keep an eye on the said pork barrel, checking if it is really used in government projects.” —John Philip R. Sta. Ana, 14, Third year high school, CJ Learning Center, Cardona, Rizal

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TAGS: Government, graft and corruption, Janet Lim-Napoles, Lifestyle, Pork Barrel Scam, Youth

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...Porkbarrel started in the American era. In the book The Senate 1789-1989: Addresses on the History of the United States Senate, former US senator Robert Byrd wrote that the term “porkbarrel” refers to the national treasury from “which government officials dip for pork, or funds for local projects.”( Robert Byrd. The Senate 1789-1989: Addresses on the History of the United States Senate) And also, defined by a Civil Society group in the Philippines, PDAF Watch, “porkbarrel funds are those allocated to politicians such as congresspersons and senators, to be used, based on their decision, to fund programs or projects in their districts”. Based on the research, the porkbarrel system in the Philippines was introduced by the Americans in 1922 and retained in the 1935 Constitution under the Commonwealth government. But in the era of Marcos regime, President Ferdinand Marcos abolished the porkbarrel and distributed the money instead to his cronies. Porkbarrel became famous and implementing effectively in the presidency of Corazon Aquino. In 1989, it was first intended for special project in Visayas and Mindanao. But in the year 1990, the porkbarrel of congressmen and senators was converted into lump sums or specified amounts, though as usual, influential...

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