MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Close to 50% of Filipinos are in favor of the total abolition of the controversial Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel, the latest Pulse Asia survey shows.
And more than majority —67% — believe that the misuse of these funds has continued under the Aquino administration.
The survey, conducted between September 14 to September 27, found that 9 out of 10 Filipinos have heard, read or watched reports about the pork barrel scam.
Of the number, 45% believe the pork barrel should be removed.
In the wake of exposes regarding the systematic corruption of lawmakers’ funds, President Benigno Aquino III on August 23 made the statement that it was “time to abolish the PDAF.” (READ: Overhauled ‘pork’ to replace PDAF)
Although the survey found that 63% of Filipinos approved of the President’s statement, nearly the same percentage of Filipinos – at 67% – believe that the misuse of funds continued under the Aquino administration.
The multimillion pork barrel scam involving the alleged misuse of millions worth of lawmakers’ funds channeled to bogus non-governmental organizations has sparked calls to abolish PDAF.
In response to the public clamor, members of the House of Representatives abolished the PDAF and re-aligned the funds to various government agencies.
Only 20% of the respondents agreed lawmakers should still be allowed to have their pork barrel provided that there are more stringent measures, a decrease of 30% from 2004.
An even lesser number – 10% – believe the pork barrel at its current status should be retained.
Meanwhile, 25% of the respondents believe the pork barrel should just be reduced so they can continue their projects.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the survey results reflect the intensity of public debate over the issue.
“We believe this supports the President’s focus on curbing corruption while ensuring public funds are spent wisely to the benefit of the people,” Valte said. “The other figures give an insight to the vigorous and healthy debate on reforms needed for accountability for wrongdoing while giving due credit to the focused spending of the administration. Despite efforts to cloud the issue by those accused of wrongdoing, public opinion indicates widespread understanding of the real score.”
Pulse Asia also found that 1 out of 3 Filipinos agree politicians use PDAF to get elected, while 27% believe the fund provides lawmakers the opportunity to receive bribes and commissions. – Rappler.com