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Friday, October 10, 2014

Signature campaign vs “pork barrel” rolled out in Sibugay

By: Emmanuel D. Taghoy

IPIL, Zamboanga Sibugay – Sibugaynons supporting “Abolish Pork Barrel Movement” assembled Thursday, Oct. 3, to launch a signature campaign against the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

People’s Initiative (PI) convenors involving church leaders and workers, civil society organizations, cooperatives, business and youth sector and others attended the assembly dubbed “People’s Forum,” which was speaheaded by Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Isagani T. Zarate and PI-Mindanao convenor Joel G. Virador.

According to Virador, the activity was part of the “People’s Initiative to Abolish Pork Barrel,” a campaign of the Makabayan Coalition.

The Makabayan Coalition or Makabayang Koalisyon ng Mamamayan is a political coalition of 12 Philippine progressive parties composed of Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, Gabriela, Kabataan, Courage, Migrante, ACT-Teachers, Katribu, Akap Bata, Piston, Kalikasan and Aking Bikolnon. It seeks to abolish PDAF and DAP, which are said to be source of graft and corruption in the government.

The initiative aimed to gather signatures about three percent of the total number of registered voters in a legislative district and 10 percent of signatures from the total number of registered voters in the entire country.

“The signature will then be used to create a referendum after verification and certification of the Commission on Election,” said Virador.

Zarate also explained that Pork Barrel became anomalous as “it was used in patronage politics.”
Most Reverend Julius S. Tonel, bishop of the Diocese-Ipil also read the CBCP pastoral statement supporting the abolition of pork barrel.

“This is an offense against God who commanded us ‘Thou shall not steal and Thou shall not covet your neighbor’s goods’,” Tonel said.

He emphasized that the people’s response to the Pork Barrel issue must not be viewed as protest but contrition to address the “worsening social cancer” brought about by the pork barrel.