August 23, 2013
The lines have been drawn between the Filipino people and the Palace defenders of “pork”.
This was the statement made today by the umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) in a press conference in Quezon City as it announced plans to mobilize on August 26 as part of a national day of outrage against corruption in government. The militant groups are calling for the abolition of congressional and presidential pork, the investigation and prosecution of all those involved in the PDAF scam, and the rechanneling of pork barrel funds to social services.
“Monday’s protest will be an important display of national solidarity against corruption. There is no denying the overwhelming clamor of the people. On one hand we have a broad range of forces demanding the scrapping of the pork barrel system, while on the other hand, we have President Benigno Aquino III and his band of die-hard pork defenders,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.
“Aquino has consistently advocated a ‘reformed’ pork thinking that this would quell public anger. That is not what the people are demanding. Something as graft-ridden as the pork barrel system cannot be reformed. Aquino, who also has his own presidential pork amounting to at least P450 billion, wants to keep the pork barrel system and the corrupt status quo,” Reyes added.
Bayan and its allied formations will be having their assembly at the Liwasang Bonifacio at 9am before marching to the Rizal Monument in Luneta. After the Luneta event, Bayan will lead a march to Mendiola to protest Aquino’s refusal to scrap pork. Bayan chapters in the different regions as well as abroad are also cooperating with other Filipino groups for the anti-corruption protests.
“The issue has gone beyond just Janet Napoles. The whole corrupt system is on trial here. It’s clear that the government has been turned into one big business venture by politicians, officials and private interest groups. The most severely affected by the rampant corruption are again the marginalized sectors, such as workers and peasants. The poor are used to justify pork projects which become sources of corruption, thus further denying the poor public funds for government services,” Reyes said.
“Workers, farmers, the unemployed, the urban poor, the vendors, the transport sector, they have a huge stake in the fight against systemic corruption,” he added.
Bayan will join youth groups in a noise barrage this afternoon between 5-6pm at Liwasang Bonifacio in Manila as a build-up activity for August 26. ###