100,000 Filipinos march against ‘pork barrel’ system

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Pork Barrel12Around 100,000 protesters including a militant group joined the anti-government protests on August 26 calling for the scrapping of the so-called pork barrel system.

“Pork barrel” is is a term describing government spending for localised projects to bring money to a representative’s district. In the Philippines, Congress members are allocating large sums of the annual national budget (200 million pesos, or $4.5 million, for each senator and 70 million, or $1.6 million for each representative) in a programme called the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

It is alleged that the pork barrel funds are a source for widespread embezzlement through Congress members under the cover of funding fund small-scale infrastructure or community projects.

In fact, a recently released Commission on Audit report on the 2007-2009 PDAF spendings showed that $17 million of pork barrel that went through the social welfare department was misused by organisations outside of government. The amount in question was released to at least 20 non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Most of them had dubious backgrounds, doubtful documents, questionable projects and unverifiable beneficiaries, with only one, the Philippine Red Cross, being a legitimate organisation. Many of the NGOs had lawmakers sitting on their board.

The protests were organised through social media, mainly Facebook and Twitter, and are to continue until the target of 1 million people marching against pork barrel is reached. Militant group Bayan on August 26 joined the march at Rizal Park in Manila. At least 4,000 police officers were deployed to provide security during the event.

The protesters demand that instead of handing money to legislators, the pork barrel funds should be rechanneled to basic social services.

(Photos by Leizl Aljecera)

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

Around 100,000 protesters including a militant group joined the anti-government protests on August 26 calling for the scrapping of the so-called pork barrel system.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Pork Barrel12Around 100,000 protesters including a militant group joined the anti-government protests on August 26 calling for the scrapping of the so-called pork barrel system.

“Pork barrel” is is a term describing government spending for localised projects to bring money to a representative’s district. In the Philippines, Congress members are allocating large sums of the annual national budget (200 million pesos, or $4.5 million, for each senator and 70 million, or $1.6 million for each representative) in a programme called the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

It is alleged that the pork barrel funds are a source for widespread embezzlement through Congress members under the cover of funding fund small-scale infrastructure or community projects.

In fact, a recently released Commission on Audit report on the 2007-2009 PDAF spendings showed that $17 million of pork barrel that went through the social welfare department was misused by organisations outside of government. The amount in question was released to at least 20 non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Most of them had dubious backgrounds, doubtful documents, questionable projects and unverifiable beneficiaries, with only one, the Philippine Red Cross, being a legitimate organisation. Many of the NGOs had lawmakers sitting on their board.

The protests were organised through social media, mainly Facebook and Twitter, and are to continue until the target of 1 million people marching against pork barrel is reached. Militant group Bayan on August 26 joined the march at Rizal Park in Manila. At least 4,000 police officers were deployed to provide security during the event.

The protesters demand that instead of handing money to legislators, the pork barrel funds should be rechanneled to basic social services.

(Photos by Leizl Aljecera)

Pork Barrel13
Pork Barrel11
Pork Barrel10
Pork Barrel9
Pork Barrel8
Pork Barrel7
Pork Barrel6
Pork Barrel4
Pork Barrel2
Pork Barrel3
Pork Barrel1

 

 

 

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