SATURDAY, AUGUST 25: WAR ON PORK BEGINS   

AUGUST 24 --The signature campaign for the abolition of the pork barrel system will be launched today at the Plaza Independencia in Cebu City. Apart from the signature drive, the People’s Initiative against the Pork Barrel will convene a People’s Congress to approve a draft legislation that seeks to totally outlaw the pork barrel system as well as prohibit and criminalize appropriation and use of lump sum discretionary funds, and mandates line item budgeting. The Cebu Coalition against the Pork Barrel had earlier said they are working to get the 5.4 million signatures or 10 percent of the total voting population. Under the people’s initiative law, signatures of at least 10 percent of the total voting population, of which every congressional district must be represented by at least 3 percent of its voters, are need for an initiative to succeed.

Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), endorsed the People’s Initiative against the Pork Barrel after being informed of attempts to perpetuate the system through the appropriation of lump sums in the national budget under various pretexts. The CBCP said all measures the citizens take, provided these are moral, peaceful and lawful, aimed at curbing corruption and the irresponsible use of public funds have the church’s full support The Cebu City activity will be followed by another signature drive against the pork barrel system on August 25 at the Rizal Park in Manila to mark the first anniversary of the Million People March. The National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) has come out in support of the call of the campaign against the pork barrel. In a statement, Most Rev. Ephraim Fajutagana, NCCP chairman, said they support the people’s initiative for a full accounting of all discretionary funds and the enactment of a law to criminalize and penalize the allocation and use of any form of congressional or presidential pork or discretionary funds.

“The core of democracy is accountability and transparency. When politicians and presidents choose to accumulate funds to themselves without adequate checks and balances then corruption will always flourish,” Fajutagana said. “Discretionary funds are not only an abhorrent form of stealing and plundering the resources of the people, but also an attack on the very soul of our political system by supporting the curse of patronage politics, contributing to the gold, goons and guns culture of our electoral system, and by sustaining the abusive power of political dynasties,” he said. * READ MORE...

ALSO: 6M signatures for PI vs pork bid starts tomorrow  

Be the first to comment! Anti-pork barrel groups will launch the People’s Initiative Bill through a signature campaign targeting 6 million Filipino voters to demand the removal of all discretionary lump sum funds within or outside of the yearly national budget.
The anti-pork groups said in a statement that “all registered voters are enjoined to affix their signatures to the People’s Initiative against Pork (PIAP) and help enact a law that will ban pork barrel once and for all. “If Congress won’t do it, the people will,” it said. The groups are gearing up for a massive rally tomorrow that will mark the anniversary of the Million People’s march against the pork barrel held last year but this time around the issues being carried have expanded to the crusade against charter change (cha-cha), term extension of President Aquino and the Palace moves to clip the powers of the Supreme Court.

The PIAP bill seeks to abolish the presidential and congressional pork barrel, mandates line item budgeting, prohibits and criminalizes appropriation and use of lump sum discretionary funds, and penalizes violators with six years and one day to 10 years imprisonment and disqualification from holding public office. It defined the pork barrel as a lump sum public fund with sole discretion given to the President, legislator or group of legislators, or any public officer.
“The exercise of discretion by public officers relates to the allocation, release or use of these public funds, the identification or selection of projects, implementors or beneficiaries, or any or a combination of or all of these,” it added. The proposal said all proposed budgets shall contain only itemized or line-item appropriations, except in the case  of disaster response, the contingency fund of up to five percent and intelligence/confidential funds of the National Security Council, the Department of National Defense and the Department of Interior and Local Governments. Special Funds like Malampaya Funds and other off-budget accounts shall be included in the National Expenditure Program (NEP) to be approved by Congress. The President Social Fund is abolished, it added.
The proposal also said all unspent, unobligated and unreleased funds by the end of the fiscal year shall revert to or remain in the General Fund and shall be subject to Congress appropriation.* READ MORE...

ALSO: Convened in Cebu a 'People's Congress' OKs bill scrapping pork barrel  

A "People's Congress" convened in Cebu on Saturday approved a draft bill calling for the scrapping of the pork barrel system, which the participants hope to enact through a people's initiative. The groups pushing the proposed law come from a cross-section of society and various political leanings. Major Christian and Muslim groups have also voiced support for the effort. The Cebu congress, which organizers said drew more than 1,000 participants -- more then double the 500 who had pre-registered -- was held two days ahead of the "Stand Up! Sign Up!" mass protest at Manila's Luneta Park on Monday. The mass action at Luneta marks the first anniversary of the #MillionPeopleMarch that condemned corruption in government and demanded the scrapping of the now defunct Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), or lawmakers' pork barrel.

PDAF had since been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, as have key provisions of the Disbursement Acceleration Program, which critics have dubbed the "presidential pork barrel." The proposed law, to be officially called "An Act Abolishing the Presidential Pork Barrel, Strengthening the System of Checks and Balances Over Public Funds, Prohibiting Certain Acts, and Providing Penalties Therefore," would scrap all lump sum public funds over which the Office of the President, along with legislators and public officers, are given discretion. It also "mandates line item budgeting, prohibits and criminalizes the appropriation and use of lump sum discretionary funds, and penalizes violators with six years and one day to ten years imprisonment and disqualification from holding public office." 

"This initiative aims to rid the nation of a corrupt system of patronage that undermines the principles of separation of powers, checks and balance, transparency and accountability," the congress participants said in a declaration. Under Republic Act No. 6735, or "The Initiative and Referendum Act," a people's initiative to enact a law needs a petition signed by at least 10 percent of the total number of registered voters in the country, with at least three percent of voters from each legislative district. Organizers said they aim to collect at least 6 million signatures within a year for the proposed anti-pork bill.

"We know we are up against entrenched and well-organized forces currently holding the reins of political power. We are also faced with the lack of resources as well as the inertia and cynicism that attend any attempt at meaningful change in the unjust status quo," their declaration said. Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle sent a message to the congress that said: "Thank you for making democracy alive and active. Thank you for advancing decency in public life. Thank you for giving voice to the countless victims of corruption, especially the poor and marginalized." * READ MORE...

ALSO: Church-backed People’s Initiative on  

AUGUST 23 --BAYANMUNA: "NO TO YELLOW DICTAROT"...The Church-backed People’s Congress will approve at 10 a.m. today the final draft of the People’s Initiative that will kick off a nationwide drive to collect 6 million signatures to stop President Benigno Aquino III from redefining “savings” and to strip him of his discretionary powers over all lump sum funds. At 3 p.m., Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma will join ordinary citizens in signing the document at the Plaza Independencia here. “We expect to gather 10,000 signatures today,” said journalist Inday Varona, spokesperson of the People’s Initiative Against Pork Barrel. “The people demand accountability and transparency, which were promised by the President. He failed the people,” she said.

The launch in the Visayas will be followed by a massive rally in Luneta Monday, Aug. 25, to mark the anniversary of the Million People March, said Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares.  Colmenares said planners will firm up today where the rallies and signature drives will begin in Mindanao. Emerging from the meeting of the preparatory committee of the People’s Congress at the Mariner Court Friday, Colmenares said the People’s Congress is represented by Church-backed organizations, civil society group, lawyers, doctors, Catholic schools, and unaffiliated individuals to express their outrage over the pork barrel scam. Aside from Palma, Integrated Bar of the Philippines president Vicente Joyas will keynote the People’s Congress, Varona said. “The People’s Initiative is also meant to criminalize the use of pork barrel funds in any form that would make it illegal for the President to impound the funds or realign them after Congress already passed the General Appropriations Act,” Colmenares said. * CONTINUE READING TILL THE END...

ALSO: Anti-pork bid catches on; Movement spreads across provinces; big groups join forces at Luneta rally today  

After the successful Church-backed People’s Congress in the Visayas, the campaign to gather 6 million signatures against pork barrel spreads to Luzon today, with 22 cities and municipalities in Metro Manila and towns in nearby provinces leading the charge at a massive rally at Luneta Park. “We are all set for (Monday’s) rally in Luneta,” said Bagong Alyansang Makabayan secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. Some of the delegates to the People’s Congress here flew to Manila Sunday to join the Luneta rally on Monday, which also marks the anniversary of the Million People March against pork barrel. Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares, who attended the People’s Congress, said the people’s initiative bill, if passed into law, cannot be vetoed by President Benigno Aquino III. “A broad range of groups will again converge to protest the government’s failure to truly abolish the pork barrel system and failure to hold accountable the promoters and implementors of pork such as the Disbursement Acceleration Program or DAP,” Reyes said. Doctors and health workers belonging to the Rx Abolish Pork Barrel System Movement will join the sign up activity from 9 a.m. to 12 noon, said Eleonor Jara, a convener of the Rx group.

Some 22 signing booths, including 17 representing Metro Manila’s districts will be erected for the Sign up, Stand up signature drive at the Quirino Grandstand, Reyes said. At noon, when the Luneta sign-up ends, the Rx Abolish Pork will join Bayan, Makabayan, Youth Act Now!, Rx Anakbayan, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilippinas and Kilusang Mayo Uno that will proceed to Mendiola near Malacanang to protest moves to amend the Constitution to give President Benigno Aquino III a second term. “The Filipino people have relentlessly struggled to end systemic corruption in the country,” Jara said. “The people’s initiative is one of the many parliamentary exercises that seek to end all forms of pork barrel. The several names and forms such as Priority Development Assistance Fund and DAP, discretionary fund that legislators use for the pork barrel system are meant to confuse the public and cover the massive and rotten corruption in the government,” Jara said. “It is more efficient if funds are directed to public health and its programs for the masses. This way, the people avoid going through patronage politics, and sources of corruption are lessened,” she said. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Palace dares campaigners to produce 6-m signatures 

THE Palace on Sunday played down a massive anti-pork rally set for today at Rizal Park, reminding its organizers that they must gather 6 million signatures before any serious discussions can begin. “We won’t comment on anything further at the moment. We’ll wait first for the results, if any,” said deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte. “We’ll see. I think they are targeting 6 million, and even if that is achieved, it is the Commission on Elections that will have to check the validity of signatures, and so on and so forth. They have to get about 3 percent for every legislative district,” Valte added. She was referring to a people’s initiative to draft a law to ban the use of all forms of discretionary funds or pork barrel launched in Cebu on Saturday.

“There are guidelines that need to be followed when it comes to that (a people’s initiative),” Valte added. In his blog, Bayan Muna partylist leader Teddy Casiño urged Filipinos to attend today’s mobilization, which also marks National Heroes’ Day. “After the short exercises, you can sign up for the people’s initiative – a petition that seeks to gather 6 million signatures to enact a law abolishing the pork barrel system. Such a law will prohibit public officials from gorging on discretionary, lump sum appropriations (a.k.a. pork barrel funds) in the national budget. If the people’s initiative succeeds, we will have removed one of the pillars of the country’s corrupt political system,” he said. “By ‘standing up and signing up,’ you become part of history. Go ahead, be a hero and take a selfie,” Casiño added. *READ MORE...

ALSO: ‘Reject pork idolatry’; People’s Initiative sets 6-m signature drive to pass anti-pork barrel bill   

PHOTO --PEOPLE FOR PEOPLE. True to its aim, the People’s Congress held in Cebu draws some of the country’s most prominent personalities such as bishops, nuns, religious leaders, members of civil society and militants. CEBU CITY—Insisting that they will not be diverted from key national issues, multi-denominational religious leaders linked arms here on Saturday and kicked off the first people’s initiative campaign to pass a law that would abolish the much-maligned pork barrel system. “You cannot serve both God and money,” said Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines.

“We choose to serve God and we cannot countenance the idolization of money, especially when it takes the form of unfettered access to the money of the people,” Villegas said, reading from an official CBCP statement endorsing the people’s initiative campaign. Around 800 civil society leaders convened themselves as a People’s Congress at the Mariner’s Court Hotel here Saturday morning to approve the four-page final draft of the measure that they hope to pass into law. Under the people’s intiative bill, all appropriations must be line-item appropriations, except in the case of disaster response, the contingency fund of up to 5% and intelligence and confidential funds of the National Security Council, the Department of National Defense and the Department of Interior and Local Governments. The people’s anti-pork bill also abolishes the Presidential Social Fund and requires that special funds, like the Malampaya Funds and other off-budget accounts, shall be included in the National Expenditure Program to be approved by Congress. All unspent, unobligated and unreleased funds by the end of the fiscal year shall revert to or remain in the General Fund and shall be subject to Congress appropriation, the bill added. The people’s bill also provides penalizes violators from six to 10 years in prison plus perpetual disqualification from public office for government officials who violated the anti-pork law. Nuns take care of the registration of participants. PHOTOS BY BELNA CABASAN * READ MORE...


READ FULL REPORT HERE:

War on ‘pork’ begins

MANILA, AUGUST 25, 2014 (MANILA BULLETIN) by Leslie Ann Aquino  - The signature campaign for the abolition of the pork barrel system will be launched today at the Plaza Independencia in Cebu City.

Apart from the signature drive, the People’s Initiative against the Pork Barrel will convene a People’s Congress to approve a draft legislation that seeks to totally outlaw the pork barrel system as well as prohibit and criminalize appropriation and use of lump sum discretionary funds, and mandates line item budgeting.

The Cebu Coalition against the Pork Barrel had earlier said they are working to get the 5.4 million signatures or 10 percent of the total voting population.

Under the people’s initiative law, signatures of at least 10 percent of the total voting population, of which every congressional district must be represented by at least 3 percent of its voters, are need for an initiative to succeed.

Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), endorsed the People’s Initiative against the Pork Barrel after being informed of attempts to perpetuate the system through the appropriation of lump sums in the national budget under various pretexts.

The CBCP said all measures the citizens take, provided these are moral, peaceful and lawful, aimed at curbing corruption and the irresponsible use of public funds have the church’s full support

The Cebu City activity will be followed by another signature drive against the pork barrel system on August 25 at the Rizal Park in Manila to mark the first anniversary of the Million People March.

The National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) has come out in support of the call of the campaign against the pork barrel.

In a statement, Most Rev. Ephraim Fajutagana, NCCP chairman, said they support the people’s initiative for a full accounting of all discretionary funds and the enactment of a law to criminalize and penalize the allocation and use of any form of congressional or presidential pork or discretionary funds.

“The core of democracy is accountability and transparency. When politicians and presidents choose to accumulate funds to themselves without adequate checks and balances then corruption will always flourish,” Fajutagana said.

“Discretionary funds are not only an abhorrent form of stealing and plundering the resources of the people, but also an attack on the very soul of our political system by supporting the curse of patronage politics, contributing to the gold, goons and guns culture of our electoral system, and by sustaining the abusive power of political dynasties,” he said.

* The NCCP asked those against corruption to join the anti-pork rally at Rizal Park on Monday.

“Let us join the gathering at Rizal Park on August 25 to show our solidarity against corruption,” said Fajutagana.

The Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP) also urged the public to reaffirm their commitment to fight for “tuwid na daan” (straight path) by joining the Rizal Park gathering.

“Truly, a government that is committed to a tuwid na daan cannot co-exist with a system that is based on patronage and corruption. We should not stop until those who were involved answer to the people, ‘their bosses’ whom they should first and foremost serve. In the spirit of transparency and accountability, we reiterate our demand for an impartial and speedy investigation of all parties involved in the PDAF and DAP regardless of affiliation. We also demand a full accounting of all the funds related to DAP,” the AMRSP said.

Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) officer Jerome Adonis said they will set-up booths on Monday at Rizal Park, where people could support the nationwide signature campaign for the people’s initiative.

“We ask the public to sign up in the people’s initiative against all forms of pork…The signup will be held starting at 8 in the morning in Rizal Park,” Adonis said.

“(President) Aquino only used the pork barrel scandal to destroy his party’s possible rivals in the 2016 presidential elections and is all talk when it comes to abolishing the pork barrel system. It is really up to Filipinos to work for the abolition of the pork barrel system in all its forms,” he added.

The people’s initiative is a publicly made legislation, which will be crafted by the convention spearheaded by the People’s Initiative to Abolish Pork Barrel (PIAP) today in Cebu. It aims to scrap pork-barrel and other alleged abusive budget use of the government.

Adonis said they will also join the “Stand up! Sign up! Abolish All Pork!” another protest activity, in Mendiola, Manila on August 25.

“We are calling on all Filipinos to continue the fight against the pork barrel system and corruption in government. Let us show Aquino that we will continue fighting pork and corruption no matter the change in modus operandi or cast of characters involved,” Adonis said. (With a report from Samuel P. Medenilla)

FROM THE TRIBUNE

6M signatures for PI vs pork bid starts tomorrow  Written by Tribune Wires Sunday, 24 August 2014 00:00

Be the first to comment!

Anti-pork barrel groups will launch the People’s Initiative Bill through a signature campaign targeting 6 million Filipino voters to demand the removal of all discretionary lump sum funds within or outside of the yearly national budget.

The anti-pork groups said in a statement that “all registered voters are enjoined to affix their signatures to the People’s Initiative against Pork (PIAP) and help enact a law that will ban pork barrel once and for all.

“If Congress won’t do it, the people will,” it said.

The groups are gearing up for a massive rally tomorrow that will mark the anniversary of the Million People’s march against the pork barrel held last year but this time around the issues being carried have expanded to the crusade against charter change (cha-cha), term extension of President Aquino and the Palace moves to clip the powers of the Supreme Court.

The PIAP bill seeks to abolish the presidential and congressional pork barrel, mandates line item budgeting, prohibits and criminalizes appropriation and use of lump sum discretionary funds, and penalizes violators with six years and one day to 10 years imprisonment and disqualification from holding public office.

It defined the pork barrel as a lump sum public fund with sole discretion given to the President, legislator or group of legislators, or any public officer.

“The exercise of discretion by public officers relates to the allocation, release or use of these public funds, the identification or selection of projects, implementors or beneficiaries, or any or a combination of or all of these,” it added.

The proposal said all proposed budgets shall contain only itemized or line-item appropriations, except in the case
of disaster response, the contingency fund of up to five percent and intelligence/confidential funds of the National Security Council, the Department of National Defense and the Department of Interior and Local Governments.

Special Funds like Malampaya Funds and other off-budget accounts shall be included in the National Expenditure Program (NEP) to be approved by Congress. The President Social Fund is abolished, it added.

The proposal also said all unspent, unobligated and unreleased funds by the end of the fiscal year shall revert to or remain in the General Fund and shall be subject to Congress appropriation.

* It proposes:
-a penalty of imprisonment of six years and one day to ten years and perpetual disqualification from public office shall on those who commit any of the following acts: any national official (the President, his subordinate or member of Congress) who authorizes the spending of public money that is not covered by or is in violation of any appropriation law;

-any national official who includes a lump sum amount in any budget proposal submitted to Congress, or any member of Congress who approves the inclusion of lump sum discretionary fund in the general or supplemental appropriations acts;

-any member of Congress or his agent who directly or indirectly intervenes or participates in the implementation of any appropriation law through any post-enactment act or practice;

-any national official who declares and utilizes savings in circumvention or violation of Article VI Section 25 (5) of the Constitution and this Act;

-any national official who withdraws unobligated funds and declares and utilizes as savings said unobligated funds before the end of the fiscal year;

-any national official who impounds any appropriation or portion thereof unless there is an official declaration by the President of an unmanageable National Government budget deficit; and any person, including a private individual, who persuades or cooperates with any national official in violating this Act.

The Palace said that the holding of the rally against pork barrel is withing the rights of the public to express its sentiment.

“We just hope that the rally will be orderly, and we believe that nothing will happen outside the expression of grievances of the public,” Presidential deputy spokesman Abigail Valte said.

Valte added that public employees are not being prevented from joining the mass action.

“At least, I am not informed of any administrative sanctions given to them by their superiors, as long as there is no work disruption,” she said.

Valte said the signature campaign needed particular refinements since six million signatures should also represent a minimum number of voters in all the districts to put into effect a people’s initiative.

Religious priests, nuns and brothers are joining the Monday protests.

In a statement, the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines said it is joining a protest in Manila, marching beside protesters demanding an end to corruption in the government.

Dubbed as “Stand Up, Sign Up Against All Pork”, thousands of people are expected to join the protest action at the Luneta Park on Monday from 6am to 12 noon.

AMRSP officials said they are committed to fight for “tuwid na daan” by supporting the mass actions “until the pork barrel in all its form is eradicated in our system of government”.

“Truly, a government that is committed to a ‘tuwid na daan’ cannot co-exist with a system that is based on patronage and corruption,” the AMRSP said.

Last year, various organizations also gathered in Luneta to condemn alleged rampant corruption in the government.

The demonstration has paved the way for a thorough investigation into the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and the Development Acceleration Program (DAP) of the Aquino administration.

The Supreme Court already ruled that government acts executed under DAP are without constitutional authority.

Earlier, it ruled the PDAF, more popularly known as the ‘pork-barrel fund’ also unconstitutional. “This was all made possible because of the people’s vigilance,” the AMRSP said.

“We should not stop up until those who were involved answer to the people, “their bosses” whom they should first and foremost serve,” it added.

Among the signatories of the statement include AMRSP co-chairpersons Sr. Eden Panganiban, SSpS and Fr. Leo Dalmao, CMF.

In the spirit of transparency, the group also demanded an impartial and speedy investigation of all parties involved in the PDAF and DAP controversy “regardless of affiliation”.

“We also demand a full accounting of all the funds related to DAP,” they said.

FROM INTERAKSYON.COM

'People's Congress' OKs bill scrapping pork barrel By: InterAksyon.com
August 23, 2014 4:52 PM InterAksyon.com The online news portal of TV5


Ustadz Najeeb Razul speaks at the People's Congress in Cebu. Photo contributed by Inday Espina-Varona representing Change.Org

MANILA, Philippines - A "People's Congress" convened in Cebu on Saturday approved a draft bill calling for the scrapping of the pork barrel system, which the participants hope to enact through a people's initiative.

The groups pushing the proposed law come from a cross-section of society and various political leanings.

Major Christian and Muslim groups have also voiced support for the effort.

The Cebu congress, which organizers said drew more than 1,000 participants -- more then double the 500 who had pre-registered -- was held two days ahead of the "Stand Up! Sign Up!" mass protest at Manila's Luneta Park on Monday.

The mass action at Luneta marks the first anniversary of the #MillionPeopleMarch that condemned corruption in government and demanded the scrapping of the now defunct Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), or lawmakers' pork barrel.

PDAF had since been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, as have key provisions of the Disbursement Acceleration Program, which critics have dubbed the "presidential pork barrel."

The proposed law, to be officially called "An Act Abolishing the Presidential Pork Barrel, Strengthening the System of Checks and Balances Over Public Funds, Prohibiting Certain Acts, and Providing Penalties Therefore," would scrap all lump sum public funds over which the Office of the President, along with legislators and public officers, are given discretion.

It also "mandates line item budgeting, prohibits and criminalizes the appropriation and use of lump sum discretionary funds, and penalizes violators with six years and one day to ten years imprisonment and disqualification from holding public office."

"This initiative aims to rid the nation of a corrupt system of patronage that undermines the principles of separation of powers, checks and balance, transparency and accountability," the congress participants said in a declaration.

Under Republic Act No. 6735, or "The Initiative and Referendum Act," a people's initiative to enact a law needs a petition signed by at least 10 percent of the total number of registered voters in the country, with at least three percent of voters from each legislative district.

Organizers said they aim to collect at least 6 million signatures within a year for the proposed anti-pork bill.

"We know we are up against entrenched and well-organized forces currently holding the reins of political power. We are also faced with the lack of resources as well as the inertia and cynicism that attend any attempt at meaningful change in the unjust status quo," their declaration said.

Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle sent a message to the congress that said: "Thank you for making democracy alive and active. Thank you for advancing decency in public life. Thank you for giving voice to the countless victims of corruption, especially the poor and marginalized."

* At the congress, Ustadz Najeeb Razul, the mufti of Region 7 (Central Visayas), called on Muslims to educate others on the evils of pork and to use the pulpit and mass media to do so.

Calling the pork barrel "gatasan ng mga korap (cash cow of the corrupt)," he said Allah would not help change the situation unless people choose to change it themselves.

Integrated Bar of the Philippines national president Vicente Joyas also announced the organization's endorsement and vowed to help push the people's initiative nationwide.

Among the salient points of the proposed law are:

Mandatory acts

  • All proposed budgets shall contain only itemized or line-item appropriations, except in the case of disaster reponse, the contingency fund of up to 5% and intelligence/confidential funds of the National Security Council, the Department of National Defense and the Department of Interior and Local Governments.
  • Special Funds like Malampaya Funds and other off-budget accounts shall be included in the National Expenditure Program (NEP) to be approved by Congress. The President Social Fund is abolished.
  • All unspent, unobligated and unreleased funds by the end of the fiscal year shall revert to or remain in the General Fund and shall be subject to Congress appropriation.

Prohibited acts

The penalty of imprisonment of six years and one day to ten years and perpetual disqualification from public office shall be imposed those who commit any of the following acts:

  • Any national official (the President, his subordinate or member of Congress) who authorizes the spending of public money that is not covered by or is in violation of any appropriation law.
  • Any national official who includes a lump sum amount in any budget proposal submitted to Congress, or any member of Congress who approves the inclusion of lump sum discretionary fund in the general or supplemental appropriations acts.
  • Any member of Congress or his agent who directly or indirectly intervenes or participates in the implementation of any appropriation law through any post-enactment act or practice.
  • Any national official who declares and utilize savings in circumvention or violation of Article VI Section 25 (5) of the Constitution and this Act.
  • Any national official who withdraws unobligated funds and declares and utilize as savings said unobligated funds before the end of the fiscal year.
  • Any national official who impounds any appropriation or portion thereof unless there is an official declaration by the President of an unmanageable National Government budget deficit.
  • Any person, including a private individual, who persuades or cooperates with any national official in violating this Act.

FROM THE MANILA STANDARD

People’s Initiative on By Christine F. Herrera | Aug. 23, 2014 at 12:01am MANILA STANDARD

Signature drive vs pork kicks off at Cebu plaza

CEBU CITY – The Church-backed People’s Congress will approve at 10 a.m. today the final draft of the People’s Initiative that will kick off a nationwide drive to collect 6 million signatures to stop President Benigno Aquino III from redefining “savings” and to strip him of his discretionary powers over all lump sum funds.

At 3 p.m., Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma will join ordinary citizens in signing the document at the Plaza Independencia here.


Ready for Monday. Members of Bayan Muna put the finishing touches on an effigy of President Benigno Aquino III in preparation for a protest rally at the Luneta on Monday to coincide with National Heroes’ Day. Manny
Palmero

“We expect to gather 10,000 signatures today,” said journalist Inday Varona, spokesperson of the People’s Initiative Against Pork Barrel.

“The people demand accountability and transparency, which were promised by the President. He failed the people,” she said.

The launch in the Visayas will be followed by a massive rally in Luneta Monday, Aug. 25, to mark the anniversary of the Million People March, said Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares.

Colmenares said planners will firm up today where the rallies and signature drives will begin in Mindanao.

Emerging from the meeting of the preparatory committee of the People’s Congress at the Mariner Court Friday, Colmenares said the People’s Congress is represented by Church-backed organizations, civil society group, lawyers, doctors, Catholic schools, and unaffiliated individuals to express their outrage over the pork barrel scam.

Aside from Palma, Integrated Bar of the Philippines president Vicente Joyas will keynote the People’s Congress, Varona said.

“The People’s Initiative is also meant to criminalize the use of pork barrel funds in any form that would make it illegal for the President to impound the funds or realign them after Congress already passed the General Appropriations Act,” Colmenares said.

* Former Chief Justice Reynato Puno helped draft the final version of the bill, which was cut down from 20 pages to four, Colmenares said.

Fr. Ben Alforque of the Church People’s Alliance Against the Pork Barrel, said all priests and bishops from 96 archdioceses will hold Sunday sermons to educate the public and campaign for the immediate scrapping of pork barrel.


We are the bosses. Representatives of various civil society groups gathered in Cebu City on Friday to convence the preparatory committee of the people’s initiative against the Aquino administration’s pork barrel system which will kick off at the Plaza Independencia at 10 a.m. today. BELNA CABASAN

A corner in every church, parks, public markets and various public places will be put up for a signature campaign booth.

The movement aims to gather the required signatures, representing 10 percent of the total number of registered voters, by Jan. 31, 2015, said Manny Lopez of E-Pirma. The campaign must also garner signatures representing 3 percent per legislative district.

The People’s Imitative Against the Pork Barrel movement said they resorted to a people’s initiative after President Aquino reneged on his promise to scrap pork, which remains in the 2014 national budget.

“The President, Congress, and the Supreme Court have failed the people. It is time for the people to take matters into their own hands and abolish the pork barrel system themselves,” Mother Mary John Mananzan of the #AbolishPork Movement said.

“We have jointly come up with a proposed bill to abolish the presidential and congressional pork barrel; prohibit lump sum, discretionary appropriations; and penalize violators,” the group said.

Mae Paner aka Juana Change of the #ScrapPork Network said the initiative will give the “faceless” the chance to participate in law-making.

“All you need is a ballpen and a signature so we can pass a law. How so rock star is that?” she said.

Colmenares said the initiative aims to come up with a law that mandates line item budgeting and criminalizes the allocation and use of pork barrel.

Despite the decision of the Supreme Court to abolish the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), Colmenares said the national budget still contains billions in lump sum funds at the disposal of the President.

Colmenares said Congress has created a new mechanism for handing out pork to its members through a discreet referral and recommendation system even as it has kept intact the President’s gargantuan discretionary funds, including the P132 billion Malampaya fund, the President’s Social Fund and the P449 billion Special Purpose Fund.

Carol Araullo of the #AbolishPork Movement said the printing alone of the proposed four-page bill up for referendum will cost P5 million.

She said the amount would be raised from the “faceless individuals” that would stand against the corrupted pork barrel system.

“We maintain that the pork barrel system -- whereby the spending of billions of lump sum, public funds are delegated to the President, individual legislators or any other public officer is a major source of corruption and political patronage. This corrupt system is an undue delegation of Congress’ power to appropriate public funds that undermines the system of checks and balances and is anathema to the principles of transparency and accountability,” Mananzan said.

The People’s Initiative against Pork Barrel came up with a proposed bill to abolish the presidential and congressional pork barrel; prohibit lump sum, discretionary appropriations; and penalize violators.

“We are in the process of reaching out and forging unities with all forces, groups and individuals to build the broadest possible unity for this people’s initiative,” the group said.

The group’s reasons for holding the people’s initiative are the following:

1. The pork barrel system remains intact, which according to one study amounts to P932 billion.

2. There is a need for a law that will directly criminalize those who enact lump sum discretionary funds and are involve in any way with creating and dispensing pork barrel.

3. There is a need for a law that will require line item budgeting, transparency and accountability and auditing procedures to make it difficult to steal people’s money.

“In this light, we are pleased to announce that we will be holding a People’s Congress on Aug. 23, 2014 in Cebu City. The People’s Congress will finalize and approve the people’s initiative bill and serve as the official launch of this nationwide education and signature-gathering campaign to abolish the pork barrel system,” the group announced.

Araullo said ordinary people would not find it hard to relate to the need to push for the people’s initiative because all of them are affected with the corruption involving the pork barrel funds.

Republic Act 6735 --An Act Providing for a System of Initiative and Referendum--states that “a referendum or initiative affecting a law, resolution, or ordinance passed by the legislative assembly of an autonomous region, province, or city is deemed validly initiated if the petition therefore is signed by at least ten per centum (10 percent) of the registered voters in the province or city, of which every legislative district must be represented by at least three per centum (3 percent) of the registered voters therein.”

“If the province or city is composed only of one legislative district, then at least each municipality in a province or each barangay in a city should be represented by at least three per centum (3 percent) of the registered voters therein,” the law added.

The convenors of the PI-Pork were Mananzan, Colmenares, Alforque, Paner, Araullo, Lopez, lawyer Rex Fernandez and Marc Canton of Cebu Coalition Against Pork Barrel, lawyer Alex Lacson of the Solidarity Transformation Philippines, and Varona of #ScrapPork Network.

The law mandates that the petition must contain the text of the proposed measure, the proposition, the reasons for the creation of the proposed measure, the signatures of the petitioners or registered voters, and an abstract or summary written or printed at the top of every page of the petition.

After the verification of signatures and determination of the sufficiency of the petition, the Commission on Elections is required to publish the petition in newspapers with major circulation within 30 days after its receipt.

The Comelec will also set the date of the referendum “which shall not be earlier than 45 days but not later than 90 days from the determination by the Commission of the sufficiency of the petition.”

A special registration must also be set at least three weeks before the referendum.

If the voters approved the proposition, the proposed measure will be enacted into law 15 days after its publication.

Anti-pork bid catches on; Movement spreads across provinces; big groups join forces at Luneta rally todayBy Christine F. Herrera | Aug. 25, 2014 at 12:01am MANILA STANDARD

CEBU CITY—After the successful Church-backed People’s Congress in the Visayas, the campaign to gather 6 million signatures against pork barrel spreads to Luzon today, with 22 cities and municipalities in Metro Manila and towns in nearby provinces leading the charge at a massive rally at Luneta Park.

“We are all set for (Monday’s) rally in Luneta,” said Bagong Alyansang Makabayan secretary general Renato Reyes Jr.

Some of the delegates to the People’s Congress here flew to Manila Sunday to join the Luneta rally on Monday, which also marks the anniversary of the Million People March against pork barrel.

Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares, who attended the People’s Congress, said the people’s initiative bill, if passed into law, cannot be vetoed by President Benigno Aquino III.

“A broad range of groups will again converge to protest the government’s failure to truly abolish the pork barrel system and failure to hold accountable the promoters and implementors of pork such as the Disbursement Acceleration Program or DAP,” Reyes said.

Doctors and health workers belonging to the Rx Abolish Pork Barrel System Movement will join the sign up activity from 9 a.m. to 12 noon, said Eleonor Jara, a convener of the Rx group.

Some 22 signing booths, including 17 representing Metro Manila’s districts will be erected for the Sign up, Stand up signature drive at the Quirino Grandstand, Reyes said.

At noon, when the Luneta sign-up ends, the Rx Abolish Pork will join Bayan, Makabayan, Youth Act Now!, Rx Anakbayan, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilippinas and Kilusang Mayo Uno that will proceed to Mendiola near Malacanang to protest moves to amend the Constitution to give President Benigno Aquino III a second term.

“The Filipino people have relentlessly struggled to end systemic corruption in the country,” Jara said.

“The people’s initiative is one of the many parliamentary exercises that seek to end all forms of pork barrel. The several names and forms such as Priority Development Assistance Fund and DAP, discretionary fund that legislators use for the pork barrel system are meant to confuse the public and cover the massive and rotten corruption in the government,” Jara said.

“It is more efficient if funds are directed to public health and its programs for the masses. This way, the people avoid going through patronage politics, and sources of corruption are lessened,” she said.

* She cited the recent admission by officials of the Commission on Higher Education and the Department of Health that PDAF is still in play but in a new form, with blessings from the executive department.

“It bothers us that the CHED and DOH officials seemed apologetic for not meeting the demands of the congressmen. They also admitted that the congressmen are still able to dictate where the funds go,” she said. “This clearly shows that the pork barrel system is still going-on behind the curtains.”

“The people must not beg from politicians for their right to basic social services such as education and health. The pork barrel system must be abolished! Abolishing all pork barrel is a step in abolishing the system of using the government as a milking cow for personal gains,” Jara said.

She said millions are poor, hungry, sick, jobless and landless yet the government refuses to allocate funds for free medicines and better equipment in public hospitals and increase in health worker salaries.

“The problem with pork is made much worse by the Aquino regime’s attacks on the judiciary in the aftermath of the DAP ruling and by Aquino’s desire to stay in power beyond 2016,” Reyes said.

Jara agreed with Reyes and said Rx Abolish Pork Barrel System Movement noted how President Aquino was getting back at the Supreme Court for its decision declaring portions of DAP unconstitutional.

“That President Aquino is strongly considering Charter change to limit the Supreme Court’s power, infuse economic reforms favoring big businesses and the possibility for a term extension speaks of his direction towards elite, dictatorial rule,” Jara said.

She urged the people to remain vigilant and to reject “any form of corruption and dictatorship” by joining the sign-up at the Luneta.

Bayan’s Reyes added: “As in the abolition of pork, the duty to stop this looming dictatorship rests with the people. Once more, let us show the politicians where true power lies. Let the voice of the ‘bosses’ be heard.”

Colmenares said the people’s anti-pork bill came about after the House leadership deliberately sat on the proposed measures that seek the scrapping of the pork barrel system.

“The bills weren’t moving. We filed those in July 2013 but we have not even reached first base,” Colmenares said over radio dzBB.

“We doubt if the pork barrel bill in the House would even be discussed at the panel level. For this reason, the people decided to resort to the people’s initiative,” Colmenares said.

“The 1987 Constitution added a provision that guarantees that the people have constitutional right to pass a law if Congress refuses to pass the law. And the people’s initiative law cannot be vetoed by the President,” Colmenares added.

Palace dares campaigners to produce 6-m signatures By Joyce Pangco Panares, Rey E. Requejo | Aug. 25, 2014 at 12:01am

THE Palace on Sunday played down a massive anti-pork rally set for today at Rizal Park, reminding its organizers that they must gather 6 million signatures before any serious discussions can begin.


Abigail Valte

“We won’t comment on anything further at the moment. We’ll wait first for the results, if any,” said deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte.

“We’ll see. I think they are targeting 6 million, and even if that is achieved, it is the Commission on Elections that will have to check the validity of signatures, and so on and so forth. They have to get about 3 percent for every legislative district,” Valte added.

She was referring to a people’s initiative to draft a law to ban the use of all forms of discretionary funds or pork barrel launched in Cebu on Saturday.

“There are guidelines that need to be followed when it comes to that (a people’s initiative),” Valte added.

In his blog, Bayan Muna partylist leader Teddy Casiño urged Filipinos to attend today’s mobilization, which also marks National Heroes’ Day.

“After the short exercises, you can sign up for the people’s initiative – a petition that seeks to gather 6 million signatures to enact a law abolishing the pork barrel system. Such a law will prohibit public officials from gorging on discretionary, lump sum appropriations (a.k.a. pork barrel funds) in the national budget. If the people’s initiative succeeds, we will have removed one of the pillars of the country’s corrupt political system,” he said.

“By ‘standing up and signing up,’ you become part of history. Go ahead, be a hero and take a selfie,” Casiño added.

* In Cebu City where the initiative was launched over the weekend, Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines president and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas said Filipinos must not countenance the “idolization of money, especially when it takes the form of unfettered access to the money of the people.”

Under the people’s initiative bill, all appropriations must be line-item appropriations, except in the case of disaster response; the contingency fund of up to 5 percent of the budget; and intelligence and confidential funds of the National Security Council, the Department of National Defense and the Department of Interior and Local Government.

The proposed measure also seeks to abolish the President’s Social Fund and requires that special funds such as the Malampaya Funds and other off-budget accounts be included in the National Expenditure Program to be approved by Congress.

All unspent, unobligated and unreleased funds by the end of the fiscal year will revert to or remain in the General Fund and will be subject to Congress appropriation.

The people’s bill also penalizes violators with a prison term of six to 10 years as well as perpetual disqualification from public office for government officials who violated the anti-pork law.

Members of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and court workers said they would join today’s massive protest rally in Rizal Park to show their objection to the pork barrel system and any move to amend the Constitution to lift the single term limit on the presidency.

Lawyer Vicente Joyas, president of Integrated Bar of the Philippines, said joining the protest rally would also signify their denunciation of President Benigno Aquino III’s moves to clip the powers of the judiciary, after the Supreme Court declared parts of his Disbursement Acceleration Program unconstitutional.

Joyas said IBP chapters in Rizal province, Caloocan, Pasay, Parañaque and Makati as well as areas near Metro Manila have already said they will send their members to the rally.

“While this is not a simultaneous action by all IBP chapters, those who are near Metro Manila will be joining the rally tomorrow,” Joyas said Sunday.

The IBP has 85 chapters and about 55, 000 member-lawyers nationwide.

The Supreme Court Employees Association said it too would join Monday’s protest to highlight their objections to any attempt by Malacañang and its allies to undermine the judiciary.

SCEA president Jojo Guerrero said recent actions by the President, including his attacks on the Supreme Court, showed that he had a dictatorial bent.

“That’s the view of my fellow co-workers :that the President is hell-bent on establishing a dictatorial state,” Guerrero said.

The 3, 000-strong SCEA has been at the forefront of the “silent protest” held every Monday at the Supreme Court against attempt to undermine judicial independence by having its members wear black or red t-shirts.

With strong backing from the Catholic Church, the people’s initiative to abolish all forms of pork barrel has drawn support from even far-flung dioceses.

In an interview over Church-run Radyo Veritas, Bishop Pedro D. Argio said the Apostolic of Puerto Princesa was “all-out” in its support for the signature campaign.

“I keep telling my fellow priests that we have to support this initiative,” Arigo said.

He added that he will be requesting the heads of Palawan parishes to allow the use of their churches as sign-up stations for the signature campaign.

The Palawan prelature is composed of 38 parishes and 20 barangay chapels.

The multi-sectoral alliance “Scrap Pork Movement” had earlier called on the Catholic Church to assume an active role in the signature campaign, a necessary step in getting a proposed bill outlawing pork passed through a people’s initiative.

The bill seeks to criminalize pork barrel, penalizing anyone using pork funds with between six and 10 years of jail time.

The campaign was officially launched by Cebu Archbishop José Palma and retired Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno on Aug. 23 in a People’s Congress in Cebu City.

‘Reject pork idolatry’; People’s Initiative sets 6-m signature drive to pass anti-pork barrel bill By Christine F. Herrera, Junex Doronio | Aug. 24, 2014 at 12:01am


PEOPLE FOR PEOPLE. True to its aim, the People’s Congress held in Cebu draws some of the country’s most prominent personalities such as bishops, nuns, religious leaders, members of civil society and militants.

CEBU CITY—Insisting that they will not be diverted from key national issues, multi-denominational religious leaders linked arms here on Saturday and kicked off the first people’s initiative campaign to pass a law that would abolish the much-maligned pork barrel system.

“You cannot serve both God and money,” said Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines.

“We choose to serve God and we cannot countenance the idolization of money, especially when it takes the form of unfettered access to the money of the people,” Villegas said, reading from an official CBCP statement endorsing the people’s initiative campaign.

Around 800 civil society leaders convened themselves as a People’s Congress at the Mariner’s Court Hotel here Saturday morning to approve the four-page final draft of the measure that they hope to pass into law.

Under the people’s intiative bill, all appropriations must be line-item appropriations, except in the case of disaster response, the contingency fund of up to 5% and intelligence and confidential funds of the National Security Council, the Department of National Defense and the Department of Interior and Local Governments.

The people’s anti-pork bill also abolishes the Presidential Social Fund and requires that special funds, like the Malampaya Funds and other off-budget accounts, shall be included in the National Expenditure Program to be approved by Congress.

All unspent, unobligated and unreleased funds by the end of the fiscal year shall revert to or remain in the General Fund and shall be subject to Congress appropriation, the bill added.

The people’s bill also provides penalizes violators from six to 10 years in prison plus perpetual disqualification from public office for government officials who violated the anti-pork law.


Nuns take care of the registration of participants. PHOTOS BY BELNA CABASAN

*

" The bill prohibits any national official (the President, his subordinate or member of Congress) from authorizing the spending of public money that is not covered by or is in violation of any appropriation law.

• Any national official who includes a lump sum amount in any budget proposal submitted to Congress, or any member of Congress who approves the inclusion of lump sum discretionary fund in the general or supplemental appropriations acts shall also be liable.

• Any member of Congress or his agent who directly or indirectly intervenes or participates in the implementation of any appropriation law through any post-enactment act or practice.

• Any national official who declares and utilize savings in circumvention or violation of Article VI Section 25 (5) of the Constitution and this Act.

• Any national official who withdraws unobligated funds and declares and utilize as savings said unobligated funds before the end of the fiscal year.

• Any national official who impounds any appropriation or portion thereof unless there is an official declaration by the President of an unmanageable National Government budget deficit.

• Any person, including a private individual, who persuades or cooperates with any national official in violating this Act.

Hours before the People’s Congress, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma issued a pastoral letter exhorting the laity and the parishes to get involved and sign up for the initiative.

“Let the signature drive begin. Let the laity speak more. Tama na, sobra na, undang (stop) na ang pork barrel,” Palma said.

He also justified the Catholic Church’s involvement: “This too is a very, very important work of the Church. This is our care,” said Palma, who lined up with ordinary people to sign the people’s initiative bill.

Manila Archbishop Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle also sent his own message of support for the people’s initiative.

It was the first time in Cebu City for Catholic leaders linked arms with Muslim and Protestant leaders in kicking off a political campaign and more than 3,000 people gathered at the Plaza Independencia to start the drive to gather six million signatures.

“God will not change our situation unless the people themselves change the situation,” said Najeeb Mufti Razul, representing the Muslim communities.

Anol Mongaya, facilitator of the Cebu Coalition Against the Pork Barrel, expressed surprise at the groundswell of support from various organizations from the 14 regions attending the People’s Congress for the people’s initiative to abolish the pork barrel system.

Mae Paner, popularly known as Juana Change, and Monique Wilson led the song-and-dance closing ceremonies of the national people’s congress where the religious leaders sang and dance to the delight of the audience.

Businessman Marc Canton and civic leader Stella Palomo-Montero of the Movement for Livable Cebu said they aim to gather the signatures of at least 15 percent of registered voters in every district of the country, so that Comelec will be forced to call for a referendum ratifying the so-called people’s law abolishing the pork barrel system.

Canton said that there are 234 legislative districts in the country and they want to fast-track the signature campaign so that Comelec can call for a referendum within the next 90 days.

Other personalities at the congress and the Plaza Independencia were Fr. Ranhillo Aquino of San Beda College, IBP president Atty. Vic Joyos, Dante Jimenez of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption, Inday Varona of the Scrap Pork Network, Fr. Ben Alforque of the Church PeopleÆs Alliance Against Pork, Msgr. Rommel Kintanar of the Cebu Coalition Agaist the Pork Barrel, Dr. Aemelita Dayrit-Go of the Council of the Laity of the Philippines, Iglesia Filipina Independiente Pastor Francis Nicolas, and Sister Mary John Mananzan.

Also spotted at the Plaza Independencia were former Bayan Muna Reps. Satur Ocampo and Liza Maza, Sanlakas leader Sonny Melencio, and incumbent Makabayan bloc congressmen Neri Colmenares and Antonio Tinio, and Peachy Bretania who initiated the Million People’s March.

A separate rally and signature drive will be held in Luneta on Monday, August 25, a year after the Million People March showed the public outrage against corruption brought about by the pork barrel scams.

Participants noted the pronounced number of Catholic priests, nuns and lay leaders and Villegas admitted that the members of the Catholic clergy and lay leaders were “at the forefront of these initiatives.”

“All measures our citizens take, provided these are moral, peaceful and lawful, aimed at curbing corruption and the irresponsible use of public funds have our full support,” Villegas said.

“We therefore fully endorse the people’s initiative aimed at legislating the proscription of funds made available to officials and subject to their discretion alone,” Villegas said.

“We likewise look with displeasure at the practice of classifying as æintelligence fundsÆ û and therefore beyond the scope of audit and accountability û sizable amounts of public money,” the CBCP head said.

Villegas said the Catholic bishops had thrown full backing for the signature drive after they had been informed of “attempts to perpetuate the system through the appropriation of lump sums in the national budget under various pretexts despite a definitive ruling by the Supreme Court that such funds are unconstitutional.”

“Now, Malacañang will be crazy to ignore or belittle people’s initiative,” said Gabriela Rep. Emmi de Jesus, who, along with six other members of the Makabayan bloc û fellow Gabriela Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan, Bayan Muna Reps. Neri Colmenares and Isagani Carlos Zarate, Anakpawis Rep. Fernando Hicap, Kabataan Rep. Terry Ridon and ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio flew to Cebu to participate in the PeopleÆs Congress.

The People’s Initiative to Abolish Pork Barrel would go house-to-house, campus tours and market day to gather six million signatures required for the referendum.

Parishes nationwide would also set up signature booths to collect the signatures before and after the masses.

The delegates also collectively recited a “declaration of unity” and solemnly declared their commitment to end the pork barrel system and exact accountability “for the plunder of the people’s money.”

“More than a year since the exposure of the P10-billion Priority Development Assistance Fund scam, and despite the Supreme Court rulings on the PDAF and the Disbursement Acceleration Program, the pork barrel system remains intact in the national budget and entrenched in the political system,” the delegates declared, led by Mother Mary John Mananzan of the People’s Initiative to Abolish Pork Barrel.

“Only select members of the opposition and their alleged cohorts are being prosecuted for pork-related crimes,” they stressed.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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