Philippines’ ‘Pork Barrel’ Graft Probe Has Lawmakers Squealing

World

The Philippines and corruption go together like pork and mustard. But a fresh inquiry into the country’s so-called pork-barrel culture has produced some of the largest popular protests to hit the nation in years, and they show no signs of abating. Up to 100,000 people took to the Manila’s Rizal Park to protest on Aug. 26 with further marches slated for Wednesday and Friday.

(MORE:Filipino Journalists Call for Action After Murderous Month)

Pork barrel is a pejorative term for Priority Development Assistance Funds — discretionary annual lump sums of $4.5 million and $1.6 million provided respectively to each of the country’s 24 Senators and 289 Congressmen to pay for local infrastructure and development works. However, much of this cash is simply ferreted away through bogus NGOs and nonsensical initiatives (like $115,000 for “antidengue inoculants” although no dengue-fever vaccine is currently available). In addition, the cash is treated…

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