Manila, Philippines – Pork barrel has become a universally-accepted term for discretionary funds allocated to politicians to use for their local pet projects. But the term has a very bad reputation in the Philippines, thanks to a 10 Billion-peso scam that siphoned taxpayer money into fake non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and into the personal accounts of some business people and politicians.
The Philippine Senate is currently holding hearings to look into the alleged involvement of some of its members – Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla, Jr. It has cast a not -so-favorable image for the entire Senate.
So, in an attempt to diffuse the negative image brought forth by the pork barrel scandal, the Senate unanimously agreed to rename the Senate investigation to “Spam Tocino Hearings.” The idea came from Hormel Foods, U.S. manufacturer of Spam . Hormel recently came up with a limited edition of its popular canned meat, capitalizing on the popular Filipino cured pork called tocino.
Senate officials said that renaming the hearings would give their investigation some “stateside” flavor while promoting the ever popular Filipino breakfast fare tocino.
Filipino activists immediately criticized the Senate move, accusing the senators of whitewashing the investigation while perpetuating Filipino colonial mentality.
Incidentally, Spam Tocino is available on the Hormel Foods website for $3.00 a can plus shipping. Hormel can only ship to U.S. addresses.