Welcome to Rappler's live online debate on the topic of abolishing the pork barrel system. Here are a few things you might want to know about the issue:
What are pork barrel funds?
Pork barrel funds are budget items in the nation's general appropriations that are among those considered as discretionary funds. A government official has the power to direct the manner, place, and time of disbursement of his pork barrel fund.
Pork barrel funds are meant for projects and services initiated by an elected official that enhance the living conditions of their constituents.
Pork barrel funds have existed since the establishment of Congress in 1906.
Who examines the use of pork barrel funds?
The Commission on Audit officially reviews audit reports submitted to them that document the manner of the fund's disbursement.
Over they years, journalists have followed paper trail that show how legislators scheme off billions of pesos from their pork barrel funds.
What about local gov't officials?
Local government executives (mayors, vice-mayors, councilors, and captains of a few wealthy barangays) have pork barrel funds, too.
Under the Local Government Code, local government units have fiscal autonomy in the form of the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA). The pork barrel funds of local executives are sourced from the IRA.
Why join the debate?
The recent scandal of government officials allegedly channelling their pork barrel funds to fake non-governmental organizations with nothing but ghost projects to show for has yet again raised the issue of abolishing the pork barrel.
We welcome views for and against its abolition.