Launching of Church People's Alliance Against Pork Barrel
CICM Provincial House, QC

 

October 5,  2013

/p

 

 

     
   
   
<--- Bell against Pork Barrel
Video by Gilbert Billena
Click link below to play video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4306Qxs_CE&feature=youtu.be


Churches urged to toll bells today to scrap pork
By Michael Lim Ubac, Tonette Orejas
Inquirer Central Luzon, Philippine Daily Inquirer
2:09 am | Friday, October 11th, 2013

Read more:
http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/504565/churches-urged-to-toll-bells-today-to-scrap-pork#ixzz2hUlGRAXG

/p

/p
Photos by Kalayaan Natin and PCPR as indicated by the filenames
           
     
     
     

.

 

Streetwise
By Carol Pagaduan-Araullo

Taking stock

Since the massive, largely spontaneous public expression of outrage last August 26 in light of the 10 billion-peso Napoles pork barrel scam, subsequent events and revelations have only validated and underscored the call for the abolition of all forms of “pork” or lump sum, discretionary funds including what is now called “presidential pork”.

There is the uncovering of the highly questionable Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) which legal luminaries, economists and budgetary experts have singularly described as unconstitutional and illegal. Malacaňang's feeble attempts to justify, evade and muddle the issues (i.e. DAP is not anomalous because it is being used for good, not being stolen and the result is economic growth and improved social services) only serve to fuel doubt and suspicion.

Malacaňang has also chosen to dissimulate or ignored accusations of its brazen use to bribe legislators to impeach a sitting Supreme Court Chief Justice not so much because he is corrupt but because he was not to President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino’s liking, being a hindrance to the Aquino administration’s consolidation of power and a threat to the Cojuangco-Aquino interests in the Hacienda Luisita case.

Since the issue does not blow away, Mr. Aquino himself is made to argue for DAP using another worn out and transparent fallacy of admitting to a lesser offense to obscure the bigger ones. Like Ms. Arroyo's belated "I am sorry!" act, he acknowledges on second thought the possibility that some DAP funds may have indeed been misused by corrupt government officials and their cohorts but absolves his men – and by inference himself - of any knowledge of and complicity in the crimes committed. Then, with characteristic arrogance and misplaced confidence, he challenges his detractors, "Try to impeach me!"

What a hollow boast! With the constitutional safeguards of check-and-balance visibly and evidently undermined by pork, presidential and congressional, in too recent and too many occasions, the people realize it will take more than the courts and even the Senate impeachment tribunal to hold the guilty accountable.

Indeed former Chief Justice Renato Puno’s call for the abolition of congressional pork and the DAP through the mechanism of a “people’s initiative” is precisely premised on the principle that the people are the real sovereign and state sovereignty only derives from people’s sovereignty.

There is also the unstated but clear premise that not only Congress but also the Office of the President cannot be relied upon to abolish congressional, much less the presidential, pork because this goes against their deeply ingrained, selfish interests. It is akin to the biblical admonition that it would be easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Where is the anti-pork movement at this point, after five major mass protest actions against it in Metro Manila (the latest being a week ago at Ayala Avenue in the heart of Makati’s financial district) echoed by similar mass demonstrations in Cebu, Iloilo, Davao and other urban centers?

What is paramount is that the anti-pork movement is not losing steam or focus as some vocal commentators and opinion writers claim. Yes the numbers joining the protests have gone down after the initial outburst of anger, dismay and inchoate protest captured by the “Million People March” (MPM) in Luneta last August. But the rallies have continued with sizeable numbers (don’t go by the grossly understated police estimates). This despite orchestrated attempts to sow intrigue, fear and division in the anti-pork movement’s ranks and among the general public emanating from the Malacaňang psywar machine, pseudo-abolish pork quarters, rabid Aquino regime defenders in the dominant and social media and still others with dubious intentions.

The basic demands for the complete abolition of all “pork” funds and their rechanneling to pro-people programs and projects as well as full accountability of those behind the pork scams and the return of the stolen monies remain front and center of the anti-pork movement.

At the same time, with further exposure of the rotting carcass of the pork barrel system and its major role in underpinning the feudal system of patronage politics and the even the much bigger reactionary system of bureaucrat capitalism, there has certainly been a “leveling up” in terms of analysis and ergo the movement’s demands. For example, the line that it is “diversionary” to call the Aquino regime to account for defending and seeking to entrench the pork barrel system and for seeking to limit accountability to Napoles, Opposition legislators and the former president, Mrs. Arroyo and her officials has not gained much ground.

The protests are, as already noted, nationwide. A wider cross section of society is participating. And relatively new forces such as anti-pork “netizens” are fast becoming politicized. These forces have advanced from being amorphous, disorganized or unorganized, preferring to be leaderless and with general articulations of their positions to greater coherence, cohesion and purposeful action.

Observers note that August 26 saw many middle and upper class Filipinos going out of their comfort zones to express their disgust over the gross thievery of public funds. The September 13 rally saw the student youth in their thousands responding to the call of the #abolishporkmovement and the Catholic Educators Association of the Philippines (CEAP); the religious sector in significant numbers brought forth by the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP), the protestant churches and long-time social activist church people; and the multi-sectoral mobilization by militant mass organizations and various anti-corruption, anti-dynasty groups.

The September 21 demonstration was unmistakably more proletarian and lower middle class in composition with majority coming from nearby urban poor communities but there were also sizeable contingents from the middle forces such as those in the trucking business operating in Manila’s port area and those in the health, legal and teaching professions.

The October 4 Ayala rally initiated by the Scrap Pork Network and some individuals who issued the call for the MPM including those in the #abolishporkmovement had a core force of a few thousand from activist formations but more than two-thirds were Makati denizens who showed up to express their support for the anti-pork demands, They intently listened to the speakers expound on the issues and enjoyed and were inspired by the cultural performances that gave vent to their aggrieved sentiments and fueled their readiness to take action on the pork issue.

In all the foregoing protest mass actions, the participation of artists - well-known folk singers to pop music chorales, rock bands to community “ati-atihan” drummers, various mass-based activist cultural groups as well as theater people and poets (a National Artist included) have been a staple feature.

Unity has been maintained amidst diversity. Politically the spectrum spans those who already lay principal responsibility in terms of policy and misuse at Malacaňang’s doorstep and are inclined or on the verge of calling for Aquino’s resignation, impeachment and even ouster to those who are critical in varying degrees of Mr. Aquino’s position and action or lack of it but who are not yet ready to call for his removal by any means. But even the latter will call a spade a spade; e.g. the DAP and other presidential pork as categorically antithetical to Mr. Aquino’s “matuwid na daan” rhetoric.

On many people’s lips is the question, “Where do we go from here?” What to avoid, watch out for, and keep from happening? And what can we look forward to in terms of instituting real change in so far as substantial, fundamental reforms? (Next week: Change is inevitable)#
 

Published in Business World
11-12 October 2013

     
     
     
     
     
           
     
     
     

.

Press Release
October 11, 2013

Raise High the Prophetic Voice Against Pork Barrel, DAP and Corruption!

Today, October 11, 2013 at 1PM, church people reaffirm their stand against pork barrel and corruption in government with the simultaneous ringing of church bells of more than 1500 churches around the country.

The Roman Catholic (Archdiocese of Manila, Jaro, Cebu, Lipa, Capiz, Nueva Segovia, Tuguegarao and the dioceses of Catarman, Sorsogon, Ilagan, Borongan, Bayombong, Cabanatuan, Batanes, Marbel, Libmanan, Antipolo, Balanga, Imus, Tagbilaran, Malaybalay, Palawan, Iligan, Cotabato, Digos and San Jose) and member churches of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines such as the Iglesia Filipina Independiente and the Episcopal Church will ring out against the old corrupt system and ring in truth, justice and accountability. The United Church of Christ in the Philippines, United Methodist Church as well as the Promotion of Church People’s Response will stand with their fellow Christians with bells, chimes and gongs in reverberating the same aspiration.

Church people reiterate their united stand on the abolition of pork barrel in the branches of the government especially funds under the sole discretion of the President that comprises hundreds of billions from our national budget. The president remains indifferent, worse, callous in heeding the voice of the people as PDAF system and his own pork is still very much present under his administration particularly in the 2014 national budget.

The pork barrel system and its other forms or names is a tragedy to the majority Filipinos who wallow in misery, poverty and ill social services from rampant government corruption. The ringing of bells signals our deep attachment to the cries and struggles of the poor for justice, peace and abundant life . The prophetic ringing of bells is a sound demanding our leaders of the country to repent and stop deceiving the people with criminal schemes. The prophetic ringing of bells affirms our condemnation of the acts of political patronage, bribery, corruption, and abuse of power. The prophetic ringing of bells marks the presence of God in our midst and our renewed hope as we struggle for a better society with abundant life promised to all (John 10:10).

As an imperative of our faith, the Church People’s Alliance Against Pork Barrel sustain our commitment to stand with the poor and restore justice in our land so that sooner, we shall achieve a society bereft of corruption instead Shalom reigns.

Reference:

Rev. Fr. Ben Alforque, MSC
Sr. Maureen Catabian, RGS
Mr. Nardy Sabino
Convenors, Church People’s Alliance Against Pork Barrel
09339604907; standforthepoor@gmail.com

     
     
           
     
     
     

.
 

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 

Signed: 
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

     
     
     
           
     
     
     

.

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
 

     
           
 
==          
     
     
           

.

Student Christian Movement of the Philippines (SCMP)
September 13, 2013
Reference:
Mr. Einstein Recedes, National Spokesperson, SCMP-09156469177

PNoy is Pontius Pilate and Judas in the Pork Barrel System
Students reiterate demand to abolish Aquino’s pork barrel system

The Student Christian Movement of the Philippines (SCMP) labelled President Noynoy Aquino as both the Pontius Pilate and Judas in the reverberating call of the people to abolish the pork barrel system.

According to Mr. Einstein Recedes, National Spokesperson of SCMP, “Like Pontius Pilate, President Aquino continues to wash his very dirty hands in the issue of the pork barrel system by sacrificing his lamb, Janet Napoles. The president is also the Judas in this issue – he has betrayed the Filipino people by his continued insistence not to give up even his presidential pork barrel amounting to more than one trillion pesos.”

SCMP reiterates the demand to abolish not just the PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund) but also the presidential pork barrel of Mr. Noynoy Aquino and the whole pork barrel system. Moreover, SCMP underscores the necessity for the government to rechannel the pork directly to basic social services such as education and health.

The SCMP joins the youth-led peoples’ protest today in Luneta and Mendiola. It also done actions in all imaginable venues in and outside of Metro Manila, the student sector of the Christian community and other religious affiliations have succesfully launched mass actions, prayer rallies and vigils, noise barrages and fora to emphasize the reverberating call to end corruption, to end one of the root causes of patronage politics and uneven distribution of the peoples’ money, and to prioritize basic social services.

“It is thus both enraging and insulting that the Aquino administration has obviously orchestrated a telenovela of a plot in the surrender of Janet Napoles and the narrative of Benhur Luy – making it appear that the government does not have an eye and a hand in all the corrupt practices relevant to the pork barrel system. It is as if Janet Napoles is the mastermind behind the pork barrel system.” he added

“The students and the Christian community are one with the Filipino people in exposing and opposing the corruption not only allowed but encouraged by no less than President Aquino himself. Janet Napoles is just a small spot in the whole page of corruption. We will continue to fight and will not falter in our demand to abolish the pork barrel system,” ends Recedes.
 

-- 
Student Christian Movement of the Philippines
3/F NCCP Bldg. 879 EDSA Quezon City 1100
Hotlines: 09289526973, 09187310322, 09174881510
scmpinas@gmail.com

 

     
     
           
     


For primers and documents on the pork barrel system go to this page:
http://arkibongbayan.org/2013/2013-10Oct04-AyalaVsPork/ayalavspork2.htm


 
     
     
           
           
           
           

 

/p

  
 

Google