Catholic schools back anti-pork barrel protests

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MANILA, 25Aug2013 – An association of Catholic schools backed a call for mass rallies on Monday to express indignation against the controversial pork barrel funds.

According to the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP), the truth must come out relative to the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scandal.

“We support the citizen’s initiative to march to Luneta and to other places where there will be mobilization on August 26 to express indignation over the pork barrel scandal,” the CEAP said in a statement.

“Make its use totally transparent and accountable! Or abolish it!” it added.

All is set for Monday’s “A Million People’s March to Luneta” fuelled by the public’s outrage over the alleged misuse of the pork barrel.

President Benigno Aquino III yesterday made a surprise announcement that it was time to abolish the PDAF given the outrage it has stirred on the people.

But Aquino’s statement drew suspicion from critics when he said that an overhauled and more transparent pork barrel system will only replace the now notorious PDAF.

“It’s an appalling state of affairs against the backdrop of a government that had done so well in rallying the citizenry to reform corrupt and crooked ways on the ‘daan na matuwid,’” the CEAP said.

The country’s biggest group of Catholic schools also supports the call for an impartial and comprehensive investigation of the PDAF and all concerned.

“We must know whether a reformed PDAF can still be a way of bringing the blessings of good government to the most needy of our people, or whether it is so structured that its corrupt misuse in our political culture is inevitable, and so its abolition imperative,” the CEAP said.

“We call on all reform-minded citizens to support this cause—first, by renewing personal contact with the poor and gaining insight into how these irregularities have hurt real people. Let us then bring to justice those who instrumentalize the poor for corrupt ends,” it also said.

CEAP has more than 1,000 members which include 30 universities, 101 graduate schools, 240 colleges, 1,070 high schools, 592 elementary and 596 pre-elementary schools.

Some of the prominent Catholic schools in the country are Ateneo de Manila University, University of Santo Tomas, De La Salle University, Miriam College and San Beda College. [CBCPNews]

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