Direct action against corruption-A A +A
Friday, August 23, 2013
THIS is personal. When politicians squander our hard-earned money, it cannot be otherwise. But that’s how Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), formerly the Countrywide Development Fund, has evolved. Still, as bard Shakespeare would paraphrase it, “pork barrel by any other name would still stink.”
Going back to recent history, lives have been lost in the name of pork barrel. In Mindanao, a hired assassin gunned down journalist Marlene Garcia-Esperat back in 2005. Two years earlier, Esperat, who was the Department of Agriculture (DA) Resident Ombudsman for Central Mindanao, had filed charges against DA officials on a P432 million fertilizer scam.
The subsequent investigation exposed a possible connection with the even bigger P728 million fertilizer fund scam, which implicated Janet Lim-Napoles, then a big supplier of liquid fertilizer.
For one who’s involved in the promotion of organic agriculture, the losses are nothing to sneeze at. After all, the DA has allocated a mere P950 million for organics compared to the P10 billion scam that involved the abuse of pork barrel, of a number of former and current Senators and Representatives.
Legitimate non-government organizations (NGO) and people’s organizations have to jump through hoops of fire to access government money. They have to contend with red tape and a ton of documentation before a few hundreds of thousands of money are released.
But for the fake ones, “Laway lang ang puhunan at koneksyon” quipped Commission on Audit (COA) Chair Grace Pulido-Tan. The COA special audit report showed that the DBM released P12 billion for PDAF allocations from 2007 to 2009. Of the amount, P6.156 billion allocated to 12 senators and 180 House members went to 82 NGOs.
I will join the Negrosanons Kontra Korapsyon’s “Tipon Tipon sa Lagoon” in front of the provincial Capitol building in Bacolod City to air our collective outrage over the misuse of the pork barrel funds by the country’s lawmakers this coming Monday.
The protest will coincide with a mass action at the Luneta Park in Manila and in other parts of the country on August 26, time to coincide with the national observance of National Heroes’ Day, to show citizens’ indignation. Our national heroes who fought for the country would appreciate the sacrifices that new generation of Filipinos are willing to fight those who abused our fellow citizens.
Yes, the pork barrel can be the spark to unite a divided country over the Reproductive Health law. Bacolod Bishop Vicente Navarra called for the abolition of the pork barrel fund that he called a temptation for so many abuses. The country needs to address so many needs and the theft of its resources must be put to a stop, he said.
I’m looking forward to reuniting with triathlete and neurosurgeon Dr. Mario Y. Marchadesch in another setting. He was my doctor four years ago when I suffered an attack of subarachnoid hemorrhage and had to be confined for weeks at the intensive care unit of the Bacolod Adventist Medical Center.
In a newly-opened Facebook account, I would to reiterate the NKK’s call: “We welcome everyone from all persuasions. This event is not about the yellow, not about the pink, not about the red, nor is it green...it is all about being a true Filipino!! Mabuhay ang Filipino!! See you!!”
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Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on August 23, 2013.