Call to united action vs pork
We are members of the Coalition of Anti-Pork Advocates, a group of concerned Filipino citizens for good government. We would like to react to the Feb. 28 news story titled “COA: 3 senators’ pork went to bogus NGO.”
The report said the amount of P206 million was released by the Office of the President in 2009-2010 from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), for a local project recommended by three senators who also nominated the NGO that would implement the project. The Commission on Audit reported that P195 million of the released pork barrel was given to the NGO which turned out to be bogus.
One hundred ninety-five million pesos is a huge amount but it is just the very small tip of a giant iceberg of public funds that the Office of the President annually allocates to senators—P200 million for each of the 24 senators, and P70 million for each of the 286 congressmen for a total of P24.48 billion.
This COA report is but another confirmation that the pork barrel is a practice that has been a source of an immorally “legalized” corruption. It is a root cause of corruption and the loss of integrity in our government service.
The pork barrel also frustrates the full implementation of the Local Government Code of 1991. This law mandates that projects for the localities must be identified and recommended by the local development councils (LDCs) which would know what they need and could better oversee implementation.
The pork barrel has allowed the members of Congress to usurp the functions of the LDCs, thus hindering the empowerment of our people in the barangays to make their own decisions.
Not least, the pork barrel attracts incompetent and greedy people to seek a seat in Congress and to overspend during elections, knowing that they will get back their campaign expenses and more from the pork barrel they expect to receive while in office. The pork barrel undermines our electoral process for the benefit of the greedy and the corrupt; and it breeds political dynasties.
Thus, we respectfully but firmly call on President Aquino to publicly declare that he will forthwith stop the existing practice of pork barrel and no longer resort to this “baluktot na paraan” to get the support of crooked legislators. We urge President Aquino to be emboldened by the people’s popular support for his “daang matuwid” and to remain tenacious in following his avowed path of honest governance. We also challenge all congressional and senatorial candidates to publicly declare their opposition to the continuing pork barrel practice.
We further call on all Filipinos, especially the youth and students, to join and unite with other patriotic Filipinos who are calling for an end to the pork barrel system.
—MANUEL E. VALDEHUESA,
PERFECTO R. YASAY JR.,
JOSE “LITO” S. SANDEJAS,
HORACIO M. ABELARDE JR.,
RAFAEL E. EVANGELISTA,
Coalition of Anti-Pork Advocates, [email protected]
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