Sept. 29 protest-A A +A
Saturday, September 28, 2013
THE Cebu Coalition Against the Pork Barrel System, which is composed of more than 50 interfaith, academic, business and civil society organizations, urges patriotic Cebuanos to go out on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 29, 2013 and be one with all people of goodwill in denouncing the pork barrel system and in calling for an end to corruption in government.
The Coalition is one with our beloved Cebu Archbishop Jose S. Palma, who endorsed the activity when he said:
“Please join the prayer rally on Sept. 29. We are criticizing a system that is out of tune...When you come please be open to the thought that, we are not only decrying a bad practice. We are also praying to be inspired in order to discern and study and learn and eventually recommend solutions that would respond to the questions often asked when the pork barrel will be scrapped.”
We appeal to people with good hearts and clean conscience, especially Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) beneficiaries who would be painfully affected by PDAF abolition.
May they understand the gravity and urgency of this radical solution.
May they bear and see this temporary sacrifice as the birth pangs for the emergence of a better way of managing government resources and of improving the delivery of government services.
In consonance with Archbishop Palma’s call, the major focus of the Sept. 29 event includes proposing potential alternatives to the pork barrel system.
We are going out on Sept. 29 because we are impatient with the way politics has been conducted in our country and how such politics has caused so much suffering for people, especially the marginalized.
We are going out on Sept. 29 because we ache for a country where we count the number of Nobel Prize winners and Magsaysay Awardees, as opposed to how many plunderers have been convicted and put in jail.
On Sept. 29, we are voicing our commitment for transformation.
Once more, let the blood of our heroes--Lapulapu, Leon Kilat, all brave Cebuanos--infuse into us renewed courage in standing for our rights and in standing for change.--
Cebu Coalition Against the Pork Barrel System (Convenors: Msgr. Rommel Kintanar, Marc Canton, Marilu Chiongbian)
Abolish the pork barrel
I take the side for the abolition of the pork barrel with the following grounds:
--The pork barrel system is one of the pillars of patronage politics that contributes to the decadence of governance.
--The pork barrel system is used as political weapon of the President to keep the legislators in line.
--The pork barrel system is a potent source of graft and corruption.
In 2007, the Philippines ranked as the most corrupt country in Asia, according to the study conducted by the Political and Economic Risk Consultancy based in Hong Kong.
In as much as we recognize the conscious effort of the administration of President Noynoy Aquino to fight corruption, we are reminded that the fight is far from over.
PNoy should take the lead in eliminating systems of governance that contribute to the perpetuation of corrupt practices.
The pork barrel system is one.
By principle, legislators do not actually receive their allocated priority development assistance fund (PDAF).
The release thereof is coursed through implementing government agencies.
In practice, however, some legislators play a great role in assigning their funds and projects.
They even meddle as to who are the contractors for the projects. Then, expect their share in the form of “commission.”
Worse, PDAF goes to non-government organizations (NGOs) or bogus foundations.
Current control systems for the PDAF are easily subverted because of the blurring of accountability that occurs as one goes down the lower levels of the Philippine bureaucracy.
The signatures of the approving authority lose their meaning because these officials (like legislators) are in no position to verify the content of all documents that come
The responsibility of ensuring that government funds are not misused in the process rests on the implementing government agencies.
Thus, the legislators and other officials may not be legally accountable for they could avail the principle of “Presumption of Regularity” of their job.
Abolition of the pork barrel does not mean that legislators could no longer serve their constituents.
Why not focus on lawmaking, which is their foremost constitutional mandate?
No pork barrel would mean there is no temptation on the part of the government officials in owning such fund or receive kickbacks out from it.
How to abolish it?
1. Non-inclusion of PDAF in the budget proposal prepared by the President.
2. Assuming PDAF is among the items listed in the budget proposal prepared by the President, the members of Congress can still honorably eliminate it from the list, if they desire to.
I bet the second mechanism is unlikely to happen.--Rommel Tubilan Gimarangan
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 28, 2013.