More than just press releases

Yesterday, Speaker Prospero Nograles, based on accounts of several newspapers claimed that as part of his effort to improve the image of the House of Representatives, he would push for making the congressional “pork barrel” system more transparent. In line with his effort, he will request his fellow congressmen to inform anyone who cares to know where the pork barrel funds allocated for the district are going to. While this is laudable, given reports of ghost projects and ghost deliveries, this hardly scrapes the bottom of the “rot” that goes in the implementation of most projects funded by the pork.

It might have gone unnoticed. But it is not uncommon that a new District Engineer usually takes over after a new Congressman assumes his post. The District Engineer, who owes his appointment to the Congressman, is now of course hostage to the biddings of his “real boss”. What follows are rigged biddings, bloated estimates, favored contractors and a patronage laden payroll. (Until now, five months after we have submitted our PMC Report on bloated estimates of DPWH projects implemented in Naga City, no action has been taken by concerned government agencies —Milking them dry, December 26, 2007 ). The fault lies not in the pork but in the manner that it is programmed, dispensed and disbursed. Of course, this will always be denied. But ask anyone who has dealt with DPWH district offices, he will tell you this is public knowledge. It is unfortunate that DPWH bears the brunt of the public’s condemnation(willingly, in many cases, as they also are beneficiaries ). When things go wrong, the Congressman can easily point a finger to DPWH. How can one who is part of the problem be not part of the blame?

If Speaker Nograles is truly interested in refurbishing the image of the House, he may want to consider doing more than just issuing press releases. He can do what no other Speaker has done. He will tell his colleagues in the House to lay off their hands in the implementation of their pork-funded public works projects. Speaker Nograles might lose his post. But he can best be remembered for doing something worthwhile for one of the least admired institutions of our government.

Can the Speaker hack it? Or is this just another press release?

12 Responses to More than just press releases

  1. jcc says:

    The concept of “pork barrel fund” is very intuitive and one always associates it with “government largesse” and for congressmen to spend for their favorite projects through their favorite contractors.

    If one removes this largesse from the hands of the local leaders, politicians will lost the desire to run for public office. Public service is a myth. Politicians of Filipino genre, look for government positions for personal advantage and profit. They would not want to spend millions of pesos campaigning if they see no possibility of recouping their expenses after being elected.

    If one places the authority to dispense public works funds in the hands of district engineers without the participation of Congressmen, you would practically empowering these engineers whose claim to office was chiefly due to their being appointed as such by the Secretary of Department of Public Works. One would practically create an imbalance in the power structure of which Congress, by virtue of another myth, derives its mandate from the people, and would be sidelined to favor engineers who do not have this mandate.

    Between District Engineers and Congressmen I would favor Congressmen to have a hold on this largesse because I can booth them out from office for their corruptions after three years, than those engineers whose tenure of office I cannot touch given the nature of the judicial system we have.

    Either way, the solution to our corrupt way of life does not lie in who has the authority to disburse this pork barrel and whether there are sufficient checks on this disbursement, but our recognition that our sense of “morality and good conduct” is generally flawed and we have learn “honesty, integrity, “love of country and the flag” and the concept that “public office is a public trust” all over again even if it takes another generation to learn these higher virtues again.

    For the good Mayor to expect that Speaker Nograles can deliver on his “sound bites” is too naïve for his intelligence, unless of course his delivery expectation is just like the Nograles sound bites, deserves another “sound bite”.

  2. jcc says:

    my post awaiting moderation is actually “prior censorship”. what if you do not like the ideas I have expressed in my post? you can always delete it using your jargon, “moderation”.

  3. jcc says:

    Wow!!!! The good Mayor must have taken my suggestion to heart. After posting my comment on the article “Undermining our Institution”, the comment went through at an instant. But I have yet to see my post on this Article, posted.

  4. jcc says:

    The concept of “pork barrel fund” is very intuitive and one always associates it with “government largesse” and for congressmen to spend for their favorite projects through their favorite contractors.

    If one removes this largesse from the hands of the local leaders, politicians will lost the desire to run for public office. Public service is a myth. Politicians of Filipino genre, look for government positions for personal advantage and profit. They would not want to spend millions of pesos campaigning if they see no possibility of recouping their expenses after being elected.

    If one places the authority to dispense public works funds in the hands of district engineers without the participation of Congressmen, you would practically empowering these engineers whose claim to office was chiefly due to their being appointed as such by the Secretary of Department of Public Works. One would practically create an imbalance in the power structure of which Congress, by virtue of another myth, derives its mandate from the people, and would be sidelined to favor engineers who do not have this mandate.

    Between District Engineers and Congressmen I would favor Congressmen to have a hold on this largesse because I can boot them out from office for their corruptions after three years, than those engineers whose tenure of office I cannot touch given the nature of the judicial system we have.

    Either way, the solution to our corrupt way of life does not lie in who has the authority to disburse this pork barrel and whether there are sufficient checks on this disbursement, but our recognition that our sense of “morality and good conduct” is generally flawed and we have learn “honesty, integrity, “love of country and the flag” and the concept that “public office is a public trust” all over again even if it takes another generation to learn these higher virtues again.

    For the good Mayor to expect that Speaker Nograles can deliver on his “sound bites” is too naïve for his intelligence, unless of course his delivery expectation is just like the Nograles sound bites, deserves another “sound bite”.

  5. Nagenyo says:

    @JCC

    “Between District Engineers and Congressmen I would favor Congressmen to have a hold on this largesse because I can booth them out from office for their corruptions after three years.”

    Go tell that to the folks who keep on voting rotten Congressmen. You can’t do that all by yourself. You don’t “un-vote” Congressmen by a single vote.

  6. jcc34 says:

    objectively we can unseat a congressman by our collective votes. you cannot unseat a district engineers because you are not allowed to vote on their performance even if you want to boot them out from office collectively.

    we have rotten congressmen because we have rotten electorates.. how about that?

  7. Nagenyo says:

    we have rotten congressmen because we have rotten electorates.. how about that?

    What an ironic statement you’ve just made! You are saying that youwould favor Congressmen to have a hold on this largesse because I can booth them out from office for their corruptions after three years and then you’re saying that we have rotten congressmen because we have rotten electorates.

    It’s got to be the worst joke since dinosaurs roamed this planet!

  8. jcc34 says:

    not ironic at all if you consider that out of the many we e can still find good congressmen and besides i am just taking from where you left off that we keep voting on rotten Congressmen.. because maybe we have rotten electorates.

  9. Guillermo Prat says:

    Mayor, In line with the title here on “press release,” I am happy to see a press release of your meeting with Panlilio and Padaca on sharing your experience/expertise so we can have good governance. Please let us know what/how we can contribute to your efforts.
    Cheers.
    Chito

  10. @JCC

    Ah, there’s the operative word: “MAYBE”. because MAYBE we have rotten electorates. I wonder why the inclusion of that word whence before you said:

    we have rotten congressmen because we have rotten electorates.. how about that

    I can’t see any “MAYBE” in the latter. You seem to doubt your perspective on this.

    @Mayor Jesse Robredo

    Kudos again to you, sir! Tunay kang orgolyo kan mga bikolano. Nakikisaro po ako sa saindong mga maray na intensyon para sa ciyudad, lalo na sa tamang paagi nin pagtukaw asin pagiging lider sa gobyerno. Nabaretaan ko po na magibo kamo nin Blog katuwang si Ed Panlilio asi Grace Padaca. Sana madagos po ining saindong proyekto. Dios mabalos po sa mga arog nindong marhay na ehemplo sa gobyerno!

  11. jcc34 says:

    nagenyo;

    the higer ideal of my post is that congressmen have the mandate, and therefore entitled to the largesse which should be devoted to government projects. engineers do not have the mandate, therefore they should be told where to funnel the funds for the projects.

    if engineers are allowed what congressmen are allowed to do, you are altering the power structure of our politics. you ended up with corrupt engineers whom you cannot boot out of office, while in the case of corrupt congressmen, their terms expired in three years and you are allowed to boot them out.

  12. @jcc34

    Ever encountered the term “filing a case” against corrupt engineers?

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