Groups vs. pork ask: If DOJ tags you, step down-A A +A
Sunday, September 15, 2013
SEVERAL groups from different sectors of Cebu society have formed a coalition to oppose the misuse of public funds and call for the pork barrel to be scrapped.
The Cebu Coalition Against Pork Barrel, in a “unity statement”, called for the immediate resignation of public officials against whom the Department of Justice (DOJ) will file charges, starting this week.
The network that was forged earlier this week includes the Movement for a Livable Cebu (MLC), the Cebu-Citizens Involvement and Maturation in People’s Empowerment and Liberation (C-Cimpel) and the Visayan Discernment Group.
“The people’s active participation in the budgeting-from-below, bidding, and implementation of pro-people projects will be institutionalized. This is to ensure continuity and determination versus ningas cogon,” the group said in their statement.
The group also replied to some legislators’ statements that the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) was used to finance scholarships and medical expenses of their constituents.
The group said these budgets can immediately be appropriated to the proper departments, such as the Department of Health and Department of Education, and no longer tied to congressional representatives.
They said they will study the present system that is open to corruption, then propose an alternative system that will return to the people the effective management of public funds.
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, meanwhile, issued a circular calling on the people to support the coalition and participate in an anti-pork barrel rally on Sept. 29, Sunday.
“In view of the pork barrel controversy, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) exhorts the Catholic Faithful to fulfill the Christian duty to transform society and restore all things in Christ,” the archbishop said.
“The call is for everyone to be concerned, to be discerning, to be involved!” said Palma, the incumbent CBCP president.
The prelate also called on the people to sign the unity statement, explain its contents to schools, communities and church organizations, and to join the scheduled rally.
The public opposition stemmed from reports, both from private whistleblowers and the Commission on Audit, that billions from the PDAF allegedly went to bogus non-government organizations.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 15, 2013.