Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Yniguez Jr. rings a small bell outside Santa Cruz Church in Manila as bells in churches nationwide pealed Friday to dramatize the call to scrap all kinds of pork barrel. Photo By Edwin Muli Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Yniguez Jr. rings a small bell outside Santa Cruz Church in Manila as bells in churches nationwide pealed Friday to dramatize the call to scrap all kinds of pork barrel. Photo By Edwin Muli

(MANILA TIMES) by Robertzon F. Ramirez and Jefferson Antiporda Reporters - AN anti-crime watchdog and a Catholic bishop on Friday backed calls for a “people power” movement for the abolition of pork barrel funds and the Palace-initiated Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

In separate statements, Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz and the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) said moves to have the controversial fund programs abolished will only be realized through “people power.”

Cruz backed the call of former Supreme Court chief justice Reynato Puno for a people’s initiative to do away with the PDAF and other Brillantes doubts the success of a PI, which he called “premature” because the Supreme Court hearings on the constitutionality of PDAF and DAP, but Cruz said Brillantes is not the one to make the final decision.

He pointed out that only the Supreme Court and Congress can decide whether to have the pork barrel or DAP scrapped.
“I don’t think this incumbent chairman of the Comelec can say what to do and what not to do,” he said.

He claimed that the only way to reach the required number of signatures is through continuous campaigns and protest actions.

VACC founding chairman Dante Jimenez supports Puno’s suggestion but raised doubts on the success of the move since it would involve the Comelec.

He said the poll body is tainted with fraudulent practices.


Jimenez noted that since President Benigno Aquino 3rd continues to turn a deaf ear to the call of the people against pork funds, “people power” should now be resorted to.

“There is this ugly feeling among the people now that as more and more explosive revelations and wrongdoings are being uncovered by the misuse of PDAF or DAP, there is not anymore a branch of government they could trust — not the Legislative, not the Executive and now not even the Judiciary,” Jimenez said.

The VACC chair noted that the people are losing hope that the government will make any genuine effort to do away with the pork barrel which he said has become the root of all forms of corruption and patronage politics in the country.

“We, the people felt betrayed. All along, the public officials whom we have elected into positions of trust have been cheating on us and committing plunder?” Jimenez said.

He said the only option left is genuine people power to show Malacañang the true voice of the masses.

“We need a government system where power-greedy political dynasties are banned and heinous crimes like plunder, fraud and senseless killings that have characterized this kind of government are punished not rewarded,” Jimenez said.
Churches and archdioceses all over the country rang their bells at 1 p.m. on Friday to “drive away evil spirits” in the government.

Cruz said the bells pealed in 16 dioceses, five archdioceses and the National Council of Churches in the Philippines, various religious organizations, Solidarity Philippines, Promotion of Church of Church People Response, National Alliance Against Pork barrel, Aglipayan Church and some other Non-Governmental Organizations.

Cruz said there are three reasons for ringing the church bells. The first is to call for people to attend the mass; second is to call for people to attend a prayer for a wake; and third is to “take away evil spirits.”


Genuine NGOs raise howl By Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 13, 2013 - 12:00am 8 46 googleplus0 2


MANILA, Philippines - A coalition of non-governmental organizations lamented yesterday that the P10-billion pork barrel fund scandal has besmirched the reputation of NGOs with genuine programs.

Eden Divinagracia, executive director of the Philippine NGO Council on Population, Health and Welfare Inc. (PNGOC), said public perception of NGOs has changed since the pork barrel scam broke out.

“With the high-profile case bombarding the ordinary Filipino’s consciousness almost everyday since the scandal surfaced, it is but natural that the mere mention of the word NGO would conjure images of billions of pesos being methodically stolen from unsuspecting taxpayers,” Divinagracia said in a statement.

She said the controversy had cast serious doubts on the legality and missions of NGOs in general, to the detriment of the beneficiaries of the legitimate ones.

“The extent of the plunder and malversation of public funds in connection with the biggest swindling case to hit the country is indeed appalling,” she added.

She urged those in the NGO community not to be demoralized and “to watch the unfolding events very closely without losing sight of policies they are currently implementing.”

PNGOC is composed of 97 NGO members that advocate the welfare and protection of women and children.

Divinagracia also expressed apprehension that the pork barrel scam would take its toll on legitimate advocacies like the implementation of Republic Act No. 1035 or the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health (RP/RH) Law.

“Pending the implementation of the law, women are placed in a disadvantaged position. They will continue to be vulnerable to maternal health complications in the wake of the Supreme Court’s status quo ante order stopping the government from implementing the RP/RH Law,” she said.

The law is one of the landmark legislations slated for discussion in the 7th Asia-Pacific Conference on Reproductive Sexual Health Rights to be held for the second time in Manila in January.

The conference is a civil society-led regional forum for inclusive participatory dialogue on sexual and reproductive health rights.

The gathering was conceptualized during the progress review of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in The Hague, Netherlands in 1999.

Divinagracia said the conference is set to look at the “roles and accountability of different stakeholders, lessons learned and issues and challenges in realizing country commitments to the ICPD Program of Action and in attaining the UN’s sexual reproductive health and rights-related Medium-term Development Goals.”

More than 3,000 participants from all over the world are expected to attend the conference.

Leading the list are representatives from women’s organizations, youths, policymakers, program managers, health professionals, researchers, interfaith groups, social scientists, activists and international donor agencies.

The first conference was convened in Manila in 2001 by the PNGOC while subsequent conferences with varying sexual reproductive health and rights themes were held in Bangkok (2003), Kuala Lumpur (2005), Hyderabad (2007), Beijing (2009), and Yogyakarta (2011).

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

All rights reserved