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PIA Press Release

Commentary: Pork barrel funds help gov't anti-poverty programs

By Jessie R. Valdez

San Fernando City, La Union (29 August) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had ordered recently the speedy release of pork barrel funds for countryside development and to bring to focus the government's fight against poverty among the 20 poorest provinces across the country especially in areas that are too remote or of social sectors that are too needy.

The President has nothing in mind now than to push the country forward, to see every area moving for growth and development that's why she finds it more appropriate for Congressmen and Senators to use their pork barrel funds in their respective districts and implement projects that create jobs to many of our countrymen and at the same time, it will provide long-term benefits to the people and to our economy.

Pork barrel refers to appropriations and funds obtained by a representative for his or her district. These funds are discretionary in nature, and it is up to each Congressman or Senator to identify the projects that will be funded by their pork barrel allocations and the beneficiaries of the spending.

It addresses the needs of areas that are beyond reach or social sectors that are too powerless / poor and that their plight must be addressed immediately especially now that various parts of the country were devastated by typhoons and calamities, they need help to give them hope and courage to regain themselves. Pork barrel funds will help the government's anti-poverty programs and this is in support PGMA's 10-point Agenda.

The PDAF will fund projects like public works, provision of water and electricity, education of children from poor families, health services, building of roads, school buildings/classrooms, post harvest facilities agribusiness improvement among others.

But unexpectedly, it was a killjoy when President Arroyo issued the release order of PDAF or Priority Development Assistance Fund or in short, pork barrel funds, it has raised suspicion again, there was an uproar too from the opposition lawmakers that this is a ploy or part of an administration plan to amend the Constitution purportedly to prolong the President's term beyond 2010.

But Malacanang has time and again belied that opposition claims and called it a plain product of a fertile imagination. President Arroyo will finish her six-year term in office as embodied in the Constitution which allows Presidents to stay only for a six year period. (PIA La Union) [top]

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