Friday, August 23, 2013

Is pork abolished or not?—workers group confused

Press Release
August 23, 2013

The workers group Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) is asking President Benigno Aquino III to hold another presscon to clarify whether the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) is indeed abolished or not as his announcement today left people confused about his position.

Still PM asserted that the reforms declared by the President Benigno Aquino about the congressional pork barrel are not enough. “At best the reforms may curb rampant corruption but PNoy’s insistence in maintaining the pork barrel means he is strengthening it as an instrument of patronage,” said Renato Magtubo, PM chair.

He added that “Only the politically naïve will swallow PNoy’s alibi that pork barrel is necessary to deliver social services to the grassroots. The pork barrel is a political not a development tool. On the part of the national government, the pork barrel is a carrot to buy the support of Congress. While on the part of solons, pork barrel is indispensable to sustain the loyalty of ward leaders and ordinary voters.”

PM is joining the rally in Luneta on Monday to call for the abolition of pork barrel and the prosecution of those involved in the scam. The group’s chapters in Cebu, Bacolod, Iloilo and Iligan are also participating in similar activities in the provinces on August 26.

The labor group is advocating the realignment of the pork barrel into a fund for universal social protection. “The PDAF, the Presidential Social Fund and other incarnations of the pork barrel must be directly allotted to social services that will be accessible to all Filipinos as a matter of right and not targeted or discretionary. In this way, the evil of patronage and corruption is removed the delivery of necessary social services such as Philhealth coverage, socialized housing, subsidies for the MRT and LRT and employment guarantee,” explained Magtubo.

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