Public urged to sustain drive vs ‘pork’-A A +A
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
ENDING the practice of allocating pork barrel funds to lawmakers can only be possible if the public will continuously pressure them, noted economist Winnie Monsod said Wednesday.
Monsod, a former socioeconomic planning secretary, was at the "Edsa Tayo" interfaith prayer vigil against the pork barrel system, which was attended by some 1,200 people according to the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO).
"The commitment against pork barrel is message po iyan sa pamahalaan na ayaw nating mabigo dito pero if after a month mawala na ito, ang message nito ay we just don't want to be bothered by it anymore," she told reporters.
She called on the voters to shun corrupt politicians in the 2016 presidential elections.
Despite the low turnout, "Edsa Tayo" organizer Junep Ocampo said they were happy that people take their time off to participate in the prayer vigil.
The event was a follow-up to the "Million People March" in Luneta on August 26.
"Probably in Luneta we are angry but this time we were hopeful that God is with us. He's answering our prayers. The Supreme Court already issued a temporary restraining order on the disbursement of PDAF (priority development assistance fund). We just have to keep on praying," Ocampo told Sun.Star.
In his homily prior to the vigil, Edsa Shrine rector Fr. Nilo Mangusad asked the faithful to be vigilant to gain enlightenment.
Mangusad, however, did not mention anything about pork barrel, a source of government corruption, which the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) slammed as a tool of terrorism against the poor and children.
The vigil went peacefully except for a commotion between the militants and the police over political streamers. The militants, led by Sentro ng Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa, said they were not aware that banners were not allowed in the event.
The group was forced to follow the police.
In Quezon City, students, professors, and administrators of the University of the Philippines, Ateneo de Manila University, and Miriam College held a joint protest at the busy Katipunan Avenue to show their solidarity with nationwide protests against the pork barrel system.
"We assert that accountability, transparency and other principles of good governance require not only the prudent use of discretionary funds but also the assurance that public funds are used for the genuine needs of our people," read the joint statement of three schools.
Among others, the schools urged the government to re-examine the discretion in the allocation and use of public funds, immediate filing of cases against public officials involved in corruption, and re-channel funds to basic social services.
The statement also called on other schools to "mobilize and participate in activities that will allow for greater discussion of accountability" such as classroom discussions, forums, and mass actions.
Aside from the Katipunan protest, students and faculty members also held their own noise barrage and march in the following campuses of the UP System: Manila, Baguio, Los Baños, Cebu, Miag-ao (Iloilo), Palo (Leyte) and Mindanao (Davao). (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)