Iloilo City


September 13,  2013

In Honkong: Likha ang Organic vs Pork Barrel






Photos by Sine Panayanon


“Hate evil and love good and let justice prevail…” (Amos 5,15)

A CBCP Pastoral Statement on the Pork Barrel

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ:


Since the news about the pork barrel controversy erupted in the media weeks ago, our brother bishops have come forward in various venues and varied means in order to guide you, our Catholic lay faithful, in responding to the situation with the eyes of faith and from the Christian moral perspective.


God is Offended


The pork barrel controversy must not just be approached and analyzed from the perspective of democracy and responsible citizenship. This is not just a constitutional issue or a legal concern. Over and above these socio-political concerns, we must not forget that the commandments of God are being violated. This is not just an offense of malicious unscrupulous citizens or the betrayal of elected public officials. This is an offense against God who commanded us “Thou shall not steal” and “Thou shall not covet your neighbour’s goods”. Lying is a sin and “we should not bear false witness against our neighbours”.


Our protests should not just emanate from the bad feeling that we have been personally or communally transgressed, violated or duped. It should come rather from the realization that God has been offended and we have become less holy as a people because of this.


We Must Atone


Therefore, our first response to the pork barrel issue must be not protest but contrition. We are not just victims of a corrupt system. We have all, in one way or another, contributed to this worsening social cancer—through our indifferent silence or through our cooperation when we were benefiting from the sweet cake of graft and corruption.


I encourage you my dear Catholic faithful to join the Holy Father Pope Francis in offering prayers and sacrifices on September 7, the vigil of the birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Pope Francis has asked all Catholics worldwide to offer prayers in atonement for our sins against world peace and in particular pray for the restoration of peace in Syria.


In union with the Pope, let us also make September 7 our day of atonement for our sins against peace in our country. Stealing destroys peace. Lying harms our peace. Government corruption is an act of terrorism against our poor and our children.


Many have died without sufficient government health care--stealing government money has caused the death of the poor.

Many remain homeless without dignified government housing aid—unabated government stealing has deprived them of dignified housing.


Many farmers without seeds and fertilizers remain entrenched in poverty—government stealing has kept them enchained to dehumanizing poverty.


Many children remain malnourished and stay out of school due to poverty—government stealing robs them of opportunities for the future.


We strike our breasts and ask God to pardon us for our sins against peace. Syria needs our prayers. The war in Syria must stop. The terrorism of graft and corruption in the Philippines offends God. We must atone for these sins to the extent that we are responsible.


Our Moral Stand


As we bow our heads to seek the Lord’s pardon and forgiveness for our sins against peace, we also stand up as your pastors to teach you that it is your Christian duty to transform society and restore all things in Christ.


1. Integrity must be restored in the conduct of public office. Every government official from the rank and file to the highest executive must prove themselves worthy of the title “Honorable”.


2. According to our moral judgment, the present pork barrel practice in government is fertile ground for graft and corruption. Promoting the politics of patronage, it is contrary to the principles of stewardship, transparency and accountability. It is immoral to continue this practice.


3. The wheels of law and justice must roll swiftly so that we can immediately punish the errant, restore what has been stolen and return to moral conduct. “Hate evil and love good and let justice prevail…” (Amos 5,15)


4. We call on our pastors of souls to educate our people in their political duties as good citizens. We cannot be good Christians if we are not good citizens, and good citizenship in a democracy calls for participation and vigilance. This we do not only during elections but all the time. It is but right that citizens demand accountability and transparency.


5. We call on all Filipinos of goodwill, especially among our Catholic faithful, not to stand idly by in this moment of truth. Let us be concerned and let this concern be manifested in our assiduous search for the truth in the spirit of prayer and solidarity. Prayer will make us humble and open; solidarity will make us strong.


6. Stewardship is greatly wanting in our country. Positions in the country are public trusts for the service of the common good. As stewards of the people, leaders should be transparent to them and should be open to be held accountable. A crisis is an opportunity. The political crisis we are facing now is an opportunity for our leaders to show that they are ready to be investigated, to set up radical changes for better governance, and to seek for the good that would benefit all, especially the poor and those who suffer.


Our Prayer


In the midst of the gravity of the present crisis, we remain hopeful because as people of faith deep in our hearts we believe that “where sin increased, grace overflowed all the more”(Rom 5,20). This crisis will not frustrate the coming of God’s kingdom. He is working among us. Let us not allow this opportunity of graced renewal of our country to pass us by. Be concerned! Be discerning! Be involved!


We invoke the help of Mary, Our Lady of Philippines, to guide, protect and move us on.


For the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines,




Archbishop of Cebu

President, CBCP

September 5, 2013



Church intensifies anti-pork rallies
September 14, 2013 12:17 AM
By: Tara Yap

THE Roman Catholic intensified its movement against the controversial Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel in Iloilo City.

Last Friday, groups belonging to the Abolish Pork Barrel, Now Na! movement marched from Jaro Metropolitan Cathedral in Jaro district to City Proper area to dramatize their call.

“The people should realize that daang matuwid is an empty rhetoric. We must unite for this noble cause,” said Jaro Auxiliary Bishop Gerardo Alminaza, main organizer of the Jericho March Against Pork Barrel.

Alminaza said the September 13 protest action was inspired by the biblical story when the Israelites reclaimed the city of Jericho from the Egyptians.

Alminaza explained how the Israelites marched for seven days and surrounded Jericho until its walls collapsed and the former slaves were able to take back their hometown.

“With the people’s vigilance, we are hopeful that the walls of corruption will collapse like the walls of Jericho,” Alminaza emphasized.

Last September 11, the Promotion of Church People’s Response (PCPR-Iloilo) also launched an interfaith movement against pork barrel.

Alminaza said protest activities will continue to push the administration of President Benigno Aquino III to abolish the pork barrel scheme which, they say, deprives poor Filipinos proper social services “while politicians have made it as a family business.”

Also present during the September 13 protest march is Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, former president of Catholics Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

Also joining the march are members of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI), Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches (CPBC), United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP), Western Visayas Ecumenical Council (WVEC) and cause-oriented groups including Bayan Muna-Panay.







September 12, 2013

Press Release

UCCP Bishops insist that all forms of Pork Barrel—barangay to presidential—must be abolished

In a statement released today, UCCP Bishops indicted politicians who have used Pork Barrel for thievery as “no better than Judas” as they labeled Pork Barrel scam a betrayal of the nation.

“We are calling the Christian faithful to action,” said Bishop Elorde Sambat, North Luzon Jurisdictional Area.

“We must do something to stop politicians from using bogus projects for the poor to steal public funds. Judas Iscariot was interested in the same thing during Biblical times,” said Bishop Sambat.

“Just listening to stories from communities makes clear that kick-back scams and Pork Barrel plunder are all too common. We are calling the Filipino people to join us in demanding investigations of all Pork projects. Making individuals and entities responsible for their stealing of public funds will help our nation. Corruption chokes our development,” said Bishop Art Asi, South Luzon Jurisdictional Area.

“We express great concern about the large sums of Presidential Pork. All Pork Barrel should be abolished; it is much too vulnerable to graft and corruption. A budget with billions in discretionary funds is unnecessary risk, especially when so many funds are left to the discretion of one person, namely President Aquino. Having campaigned on the slogan ‘kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap,’ President Aquino should stop resisting the public’s demand to abolish all pork barrel,” said Bishop Asi.

Members and friends of the UCCP held a noise barrage action in Quezon City today urging people to join the FORWARD MARCH LUNETA: ABOLISH PORK BARREL to be held at 3pm tomorrow. The UCCP will be joining an ecumenical service at the Central United Methodist Church, Kalaw Avenue at 1:30pm, before marching to Luneta where an Interfaith service will be conducted.

Similar UCCP noise barrages and public actions were also held in Davao City and other parts of the country.

“Now is the time to demand accountability and transparency from our nation’s leaders. We add our voices to the swelling multitude: ABOLISH PORK BARREL NOW!,” concluded Bishop Sambat. ###

For Reference and Interview:
Bishop Art Asi, 0927-7860922
Bishop Elorde Sambat 0922-806-1320

Press Statement

September 12, 2013

Abuse of the Poor and Betrayal of the Nation
Abolish Pork Barrel and End the Climate of Impunity
A Pastoral Letter

But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?” (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.) John 12:4-6, NRSV

The Pork Barrel System has long been the subject of exposé and rumor as a key component of patronage politics and plunder of the Philippine public treasury. Though many have made reference to the stealing of Pork Barrel funds, public outrage ignited by whistleblower Benhur Luy and further inflamed by the Commission on Audit’s report of a 10-Billion Peso JLN-Janet Lim Napoles Pork Barrel Scam is well founded. The burden of generating the national budget is viewed as a collective responsibility: factory workers, rank-and-file office employees and professionals comply with tax deductions in their bring-home pay, and in recent years, each and every one of us pays the 12% Value-Added Tax on every purchase and transaction. The piercing evidence, that billions in public funds have been stolen by corrupt politicians and their cohorts, rightly elicits our anger, disgust, and corrective action.What makes this a double insult to our Christian sensibility is that these funds have been stolen largely under auspices of providing development assistance in poor and needy communities. We have paid a significant portion of our earnings as taxes with an understanding that these monies are utilized to uplift our nation, including efforts toward poverty alleviation for economically poor families. Sadly, our political leaders have proven themselves to be no better than Judas—their pronouncements of the needs of the poor have been merely a façade for their own thievery and abuse of power. Our nation has been betrayed by those stealing from the common purse and we unequivocally denounce that the poor, who continue to endure hunger, demolition, unemployment and underdevelopment, have been abused for such plunder.

In light of this grave abuse and plunder, we, Bishops of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines, call for the Pork Barrel system in all its manifestations—from the barangay to the presidential Pork Barrel—to be abolished. We demand a thorough investigation and prosecution of those who have manipulated and plundered Pork Barrel for personal gain. The prevailing climate of impunity, combined with patronage politics, corrodes and chokes our nation’s advancement. The Filipino people long to be freed from the grips of self-serving greed, and the economically poor, as much as ever, deserve opportunities for genuine development. We call all the faithful to discern God’s summons for Christian action in these critical times. Let us join together in our homes, churches, and even the public parks in decisive and persistent action. Now is the time to demand accountability and transparency from our nation’s leaders. #abolishpork

Bishop Reuel Norman O. Marigza, General Secretary
Bishop Elorde M. Sambat, North Luzon Jurisdictional Area
Bishop Roel P. Mendoza, Middle Luzon Jurisdictional Area
Bishop Arturo R. Asi, South Luzon Jurisdictional Area
Bishop Jaime M. Moriles, West Visayas Jurisdictional Area
Bishop Dulce Pia-Rose, East Visayas Jurisdictional Area
Bishop Melzar D. Labuntog. Northwest Mindanao Jurisdictional Area
Bishop Modesto D. Villasanta, Southeast Mindanao Jurisdictional Area




A call to action
September 3, 2013

We, ordinary citizens and all taxpayers, are outraged by the shameless plunder and misuse of public funds as so far revealed by the P10 billion Napoles pork barrel scam and COA audits on the congressional pork barrel funds.

We denounce the way the pork barrel system has made a sham of the supposed system of checks and balances between the Executive and Legislative branches of government. We likewise decry how legitimate NGOs have been wrongfully tainted by this wholesale corruption.

Despite the widespread public outcry for the abolition of all forms of pork barrel funds, President Aquino continues to disregard his " bosses" and persists in retaining the system of discretionary, lump sum appropriations for individual members of Congress and the Chief Executive in the national budget, although with a new mechanism for its release.

We demand the abolition of the pork barrel system and the direct allocation of taxpayers' money and other public funds to public hospitals, schools, public housing and other social services. We must remove the discretionary power of individual politicians and government officials over such funds for greater transparency and accountability.

Inspired by our people's dramatic and widespread participation in the August 26 Million People March and guided by its calls, we pledge to keep up the pressure on the government to:
1) Abolish the pork barrel system;
2) Prosecute all the guilty parties including all conniving senators, congressmen, other public officials and bogus NGOs;
3) Allocate pork barrel funds to social services.

These critical demands should be addressed by government with full transparency.

We call on our fellow Filipinos to participate in the various actions and initiatives for this purpose most especially the big protest actions on September 13, 3pm and September 21 at the Luneta.

Together, let us fight for a government of, by and for the people. Let us stand in solidarity and demand justice and accountability: Abolish the pork barrel system now!


Mother Mary John Mananzan OSB, Pagbabago! People’s Movement for Change
Prof. Judy Taguiwalo, Pagbabago! People's Movement for Change
Fr. Marlon Lacal, Association of Major Religious Superiors
Fr. Joe Dizon, Solidarity Philippines
Henri Kahn, Concerned Citizens Movement
Victor Villanueva, Youth Act Now!
Marco Vicencio, Youth Revolt
Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz
Mae Paner, Juana Change Movement
Monet Silvestre
Katrina Stuart-Santiago,
Tonyo Cruz,
Fitz Villafuerte,*
Julius Rocas,
Noemi Dado,
Sonnie Santos,*
Inday Espina-Varona,
Engr. Jun Lozada, NBN-ZTE Deal whistleblower
Sandra Cam, Whistleblowers Association
Col. George Rabusa, AFP whistleblower
Former Navy Lt. Nancy Gadian, AFP whistleblower
Atty. Melchor Magdamo, Comelec whistleblower
Atty. Harry Roque
Prof. Chester Arcilla, University of the Philippines, Manila*
Dr. June P. Lopez, UP College of Medicine*
Prof. Marion J. Tan, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, UP Diliman*
Fr. Bong Sarabia, Adamson University*
Carmen Serina, St. Theresa's College*
Dr. Ramon Paterno, UP College of Medicine*
Wacky Torres, UP Laya Football Club
Sr. Rizalyn Solitario, RMCICM
Fr. Rex Reyes, National Council of Churches in the Philippines
Renato Reyes, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan
Bishop Reuel Norman O. Marigza, United Church of Christ of the Philippines
Bishop Elmer Bolocon, Ecumenical Bishops Forum
Patricia Santos, College Editors Guild of the Philippines
Prof. Sarah Raymundo, UP Faculty for the Abolition of the Pork Barrel System
UP Student Regent Krista Melgarejo, UP Scrap the Pork Alliance
Menchu Sarmiento, BABALA! (Babae Laban sa Katiwalian)
Soc Reyes, BABALA!
Rev. Marie Sol Villalon, Promotion of Church People's Response
Walkie Mirana, Concerned Artists of the Philippines
Edwin dela Torre, Emerging Artists Collective
She Garcia, Quezon Reels People's Media
Rodel J. Abalus, 93.5 Easy Rock Boracay*
Jim Libiran
Diane Zapata, Bikers Against Baboy System (BABS)
Atty. Rey Cortez, National Union of People's Lawyers
Dr. Eleanor Jara, Council for Health and Development
Dr. Dante C. Simbulan, Katarungan-USA
Satur Ocampo, Makabayan Coalition
Noel Cabrera, Kapatiran Party

* For identification purposes only



Joi Barrios-Leblanc,
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan
Women’s Desk

Hindi lamang
ang mukhang baboy
ang baboy.

May baboy na gusto nating malitson,
Habang-buhay na makulong,
Siyang nagparada ng luho at rangya,
At itinago sa kunwang kawanggawa
Ang ugaling masiba.

Ngunit malawak
ang kural at gubat,
At walang pinagkaiba
Ang patabaing biik
Sa baboy-damong mabangis.

Dalawang paalala:
Una, madulas ang nalangisang baboy sa pista.
Huwag hayaang makawala.

Ikalawa, kapag hindi sapat ang pagkakaihaw,
pagkakaprito, o pagkakakagisa,
may mikrobyo ang baboy
na nadadala sa bituka.

Kaya’t mag-ingat.

Alamin, busisiin, suriin,
Ang talinghaga sa paglapat.
Ano, sino nga ba ang dapat mapuksa?
Iyon lang bang mga sakim na hayop
na sanhi ng salot
O ang karneng nakabitin na pabuya
Sa nakatanghod na dukha.

Naghuhugas ng kamay, nagpapalit-anyo
Ang baboy sa bulwagan at palasyo.
Ngunit tayong taumbayan ay nakabantay.
Handang lumaban, handang manindigan.

Minsan na tayong nag-aklas,
Buwitre man, tuko, ahas o baboy,
Sa bawat tunggalian, hindi tayo aatras.




In Hongkong:
Likha and Organic vs Pork Barrel!
Photos by Rey Asis