CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 20 Aug) – And while you’re at it, roll that PORK BARREL away… NOW!
No one can mistake the outrage being vented on the indecency of Pork and its handlers. Few other items of indulgence in power circles deserve the condemnation and contumely of sovereign citizens of a republic.
Who today can doubt that Pork has corrupted many of our so-called congressmen and senators? They are supposed to be our representatives! But not a one to think of or point to as a statesman. Pork has turned too many lawmakers into hypocritical public servants.
When legislators indulge in shameless thievery, use and misuse public funds, connive with shameless opportunists, or abet dishonesty and other crimes against society, you know that the system we entrusted to them has become rotten to the core. They bastardize it! And they dare to say that this “baluktot na paraan” is “matuwid na daan”? How dare they make a mockery of local development!
P-Noy should no longer temporize. The gathering storm of citizen outrage should drive him to break up the Pork Barrel and roll it away now—or suffer ignominy.
Quiet no more
The citizens of Middle Philippines—the quiet but ever beating heart of democracy—long for integrity, for earnest and honest governance. And they’re quiet no more. They voices rise in tune with the general revulsion towards corruption, venality, and scandal.
Unless P-Noy acts decisively, the anger could erupt in unseemly ways, just as it did in the 1960s, culminating in the First Quarter Storm of 1970
The fury being generated by this issue is but the effect of a long-simmering impatience and disgust with traditional politics and the trapos that wallow in it. People are sick and tired of hanky-panky. They want an end to unlimited political ambition and naked aggrandizement. They are angry.
But there is also anger trained at other people—other Pinoys who allow themselves to be victimized and used by the trapos, who then elect the Lito Lapids, the Jinggoy Estradas, the Bong Revillas, and other Pork Barrel opportunists
Such electors are responsible for keeping the trapos and the cheaters and venal minds in office. Readily misled, bribed, or fooled, they outvote the forces of good sense and proper conduct. It is their political support that got the system stuck on first gear, unable to gain momentum or overcome the debilitating effects of patronage and corruption.
Thus, amidst the rising tide of impatience, there is now a clamor for action. To some it doesn’t matter what kind of action, just as long as it leads forward and away from the ugly reality of greedy opportunism and demagoguery. Questing for decency, honesty, and fairness that the abuse of Pork has bastardized in our society, they want to march to the beat of reform, pledged to do so until the vats of Pork in Congress and Malacañang tilt under the force of insistent, assertive sovereignty and people power.
Sucking the life out of autonomy
When you come to think of it, Pork and its cavalier use by Congress has stifled initiative and the enterprising spirit in the community. The culture of dependency that it promotes has sucked the life out of local autonomy. It has stifled resourcefulness and rendered local governments impotent in the face of trapo and dynastic politics.
Pork-bearing officials, to the neglect of legislation, frustrate attempts to establish a government of the people, by the people, and for the people at the grassroots. Ever grandstanding, eager to take over and grab credit, to take charge, or to foot the bill, these cavalier dispensers and despoilers of our common wealth foster the oligarchic, dynastic mode of governance at the primal base of our Republic.
With the persuasive perks of Pork, they manipulate, bribe, or control the constituency. They weaken people power in the neighborhoods. They dampen participation in the local governing processes. People say: “Why bother to participate, the congressman or the senator is doing everything for us, including the financing!” In doing so, they stultify the maturation of our democracy.
Does anyone doubt that the trapos—using Pork, patronage, and perks—damp citizen involvement in their own development? Pork-bearing congressmen and senators rob them of any reason to get involved. Why bother when plenty of Pork is passed around to simulate development or progress? Simulate! Not produce real development.
Pork has kept our political system weak and immature while turning infrastructure into a tool for credit-grabbing, for flattering ego or vanity, while at the same time providing substandard, inadequate facilities.
It is time we get rid of the Pork Barrel system. Time to rid our people of the dependency it fosters. Then perhaps we can finally activate democracy and the development process that allows the spirit of people power to arise and let real autonomy induce development! It is what our society needs. It is what must be made to happen.
President Noy: your Boss, our people summon you. March with them!
What’s better than Pork? Read my next column.
(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Manny Valdehuesa writes from Cagayan de Oro and is the president and national convenor of Gising Barangay Movement Inc. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)