By Joey Natividad
CITY OF NAGA, Bicol Region, 8Oct2013 (BicolToday.com) – Amid greasy defense over pork by President Aquino and legislators, militants took the streets on Friday along capitalist lane Ayala Avenue, Makati City, parading a large effigy golden pig symbolizing the “new god” among top government leaders.
The umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) spearheaded the Friday march in the country’s financial center as part of the Million People March protest in Ayala.
The latest demonstration, the fifth so far since August 26, carried the message of abolishing all forms of pork barrel funds and accountability for all those involved in the scam.
The protest came in the wake of revelations that Malacanang disbursed some P150 billion in so-called Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) which critics consider to be just another form of pork.
Highlight of the Bayan march was an 8 feet tall, 10 feet long “Golden Baboy” signifying pork barrel as a “false idol” being worshiped by politicians.
The “Golden Baboy” effigy was paraded along Ayala and was used as background for people wanting to take pictures and “selfies” with #abolishpork signs.
“The Pork Barrel King Aquino is the biggest hindrance to the abolition of this source of systemic corruption. He has consistently acted to defend the pork system. He has sought the lifting of the Supreme Court TRO on pork barrel funds. He has transformed PDAF into itemized pork in the 2014 budget. He has used alleged government savings as his own pork and as an instrument to influence Congress. And, he refuses to give up his own lump sum funds,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.
“The reason why pork has not been abolished up to now is because the President does not want it to be abolished. Our protests therefore should be clearly addressed to the Chief Executive. He has to be made answerable to the people,” he added, informing BicolToday.com
Bayan assailed Aquino’s use of so-called government “savings” as pork, saying that it was unconstitutional and undermines the power of Congress to appropriate public funds.
“In a time when public services are starving of funds, when rank and file government employees could hardly make ends meet; it is simply unconscionable that the Chief Executive would centralized these so-called savings and convert them as pork for lawmakers,” Reyes said.
He also criticized Malacanang for saying that the DAP issue was merely meant to divert attention from the PDAF scandal.
“Mr. President, the issue is pork, in all its forms. The issue is systemic corruption that is not limited to the PDAF, but also includes much larger lump sum discretionary funds such as those under your office,” Reyes said.
Bayan said that it is preparing for protests in October upon the resumption of the session of Congress where it is believed that the 2014 proposed budget will be passed.
The proposed budget still retains much of the pork even if the previous PDAF was realigned to various agencies and itemized. [BicolToday.com]