Manila, Philippines – As calls for the scrapping of the Priority Development Assistance Fund, better known as pork barrel, escalated, Philippine Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto has proposed that a good portion of P26-billion fund be realigned and spent on education—for more teachers, classrooms, science labs and even meals for malnourished children in public schools.
“If plans to scrap the P26-bllion PDAF in the proposed 2014 national budget will push through, then a big portion of that amount must go to education,” Recto said . He has a new name for the pork barrel fund—Basic Education Enhancement Fund or BEEF.
Recto’s proposal was immediated applauded by sectors of the Philippine beef industry. Commercial and backyard cattle raisers alike said that it is about time that the beef business be given a big boost. Consumption of pork in the Philippines far outnumbers that of beef, primarily because of the prohibitive prices of the latter.
“Recto’s proposal, if approved by Congress, would be the best advertising for the beef industry,” cattle raisers said . “And thanks to the pork barrel scam, pork’s reputation has significant declined. Now it is beef’s time to stage a comeback,” they added.
The total cattle inventory in the country as of January 1, 2013 was almost 2.50 million heads. This was 0.19 percent higher than last year’s record of 2.49 million heads. Of the total inventory, about 2.32 million heads or 93.00 percent were raised in backyard farms. The remaining 7.00 percent or about 0.17 million head were raised in commercial farms.
As of press time, the Cattle Industry is finalizing a nationwide ad campaign and has come up with a catchy meme, “Butt out, pork. Here’s the beef!”