By DANILDA L. FUSILERO
KIDAPAWAN CITY – More than 200 members of ecumenical churches and militants here staged a rally Wednesday calling for the abolition of all forms of pork barrel. Representatives from small farmers groups, students and lumads also joined the rally in front of the city plaza.
United Methodist Rev. Jeric Cortado of the Abolish Pork Barrel Movement cited the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)’s statement describing government corruption as an act of terrorism.
“Daghang Filipino ang nangamatay nga wala gani nakatilaw og serbisyo sosyal, walay klarong pabalay, ug daghang kabantan-onan nga nahikawan sa ilang katungod sa libreng edukasyon (Many Filipinos die without getting social services and decent housing, while many youths have been deprived of free education),” Rev. Cortado said during the rally.
Cortado also scored the government for stealing peoples’ money derived from taxation. “They are just stewards of our money. Using the people’s money as PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund) will only aggravate the culture of patronage politics,” he added.
Pres. Roxas Parish Priest Hipolito Paracha, DCK also cued his speech during the rally with Cardinal Tagle’s call “Ipakita natin sa buong mundo na ang Filipino ay marangal (Let’s show ourselves to the world that we are dignified).”
To be noble, Fr. Paracha said the government should live up with the Bible’ s 7th commandment which says ‘thou shall not steal or thou shall not take what is not yours.’
“Government corruption is an injustice to the people. Taxpayers are paying them salaries at 80 to 90 thousand monthly while it will probably take a lifetime for an impoverished farmer and lumad to earn it,” Paracha said.
Sr. Linda Hisug, OND also called on the people to continue with their vigilance over government corruption, adding that “(P)eople in Congress are supposed to be elected so that they can legislate laws,”she added.
Bai Norma Capuyan of the militant Apo Sandawa Lumadnong Panaghiusa sa Cotabato (ASLPC), on the other hand, said that the “pork barrel scam is a manifestation of the systemic corruption in the bureaucracy.”
Capuyan who is also a convenor of the Abolish Pork Barrel Movement here said that Lumads have been used to justify the release of pork barrel funds but have not benefited from it.
“Wala kaila og pork barrel ang kadaghanan sa katawhang lumad, samot nga wala namo nabati ang benepisyo niini (Many Lumads cannot even identify pork barel, nor have Lumads gotten anything from it),” Capuyan said.
For Ranulfo Lapas of the Kilusang Magbubukid sa Pilipinas (KMP), peasants too have been victimized with the pork barrel scam twice over. “Gaymayng mag-uuma ang gihimong taming sa ilang corruption and yet walay klarong subsidy sa pagpanguma ang gobyerno. Naghi-laid ang mga mag-uuma sa kamahal sa production inputs ug kabarato sa palitanay sa mga produkto (Small farmers were used as camouflage for corruption—they who do not receive steady subsidy from the government.
Peasants are reeling from the impact of expensive production inputs and cheap prices for their produce),” Lapas said.
Honeylyn Ono, spokesperson of the Student Christian Movement of the Phil (SCMP) also criticized pro-pork barrel members of the congress for overly-using the scholarship program to lobby for the release of pork barrel. “Free education is one of our fundamental and constitutional rights, thus politicians should not exploit this to corrupt government funds because scholarship programs are merely components of a comprehensive education program for the youth” Ono said.
Local formation of the Abolish Pork Barrel Movement here comprised of local churches of the Roman Catholic, United Methodist, UCCP with the local Solidarity Vote Movement of the Diocese of Kidapawan and progressive groups of Makabayan, lumad, farmers, students & youth among others. (Danilda Fusilero/davaotoday.com)abolish pdaf, abolish pork barrel, EDSA Tayo, pdaf