PHILIPPINES: Is Aquino’s Replacement of the PDAF Progress or Delusion?

TREVOR ISBELL WRITES – After suffering years of government corruption, public anger in the Philippines has reached a boil and President Benigno Aquino III is finally being forced into action. Facing a massive and well-organized protest over a public works funding scandal, Aquino told the nation he’d do better.

Janet Lim-Napoles is the alleged mastermind behind the most recent misuse of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), draining billions of pesos from the fund by working alongside Philippine Senators to divert money into Napoles’ dummy NGOs.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) is currently filing charges against Napoles along with about 60 other people, including three Senators: Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr.

This may be the biggest case of abuse of the PDAF by the Filipino government since its introduction in 1922. But there is still hope! With the help of the same government agencies that allegedly abused the PDAF, Aquino plans to erect a new fund appropriation system that will allow the government to allocate money necessary for small infrastructure projects while protecting against governmental corruption – a sales pitch that sounds exactly like what the Philippines was promised with the establishment of the PDAF.

Aquino claims that the problem of gross political corruption can be resolved in a 7-step program, which he and Congress will work on implementing in their new fund appropriation system.  While some may applaud the president’s efforts, to others this plan may seem just a few steps short of an ill-conceived AA program.  While alcoholics may require a full 12 step process to recovery (at an impressively low success rate one might add), a government littered with political corruption and a dwindling sense of morality and service to its people will apparently only require 7.

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