August 27, 2013
With the success of the Million People March, the militant Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) called on President Benigno Aquino III to accede to the demand for the abolition of the pork barrel. “It behooves PNoy to heed the resounding cry of his Bosses—Abolish not reform the pork barrel. Reform or renaming of the PDAF will not placate the anger of citizens outraged at the wanton theft of the people’s tax money,” asserted Wilson Fortaleza, PM spokesperson.
“The anti-pork protest should develop into a movement for universal social protection and also converge with the anti-epal, anti-trapo and anti-dynasty advocacies of the last elections. Such is a roadmap towards lasting political change in our country,”
PM is advocating an “Apat na Dapat” set of demands to address the pork barrel scandal. First, the abolition of all forms of pork barrel, principally the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), the Presidential Social Fund (PSF) and the special purpose funds. Second, the realignment of pork to fund universal social protection like Philhealth coverage, public employment, disaster relief and climate mitigation. Third, people’s participation in the budget process from identification of programs and projects to evaluation. And last, the passage of the Freedom of Information bill to enhance transparency and accountability in government spending.
The group said that the government budget for social services in less than the United Nations target of 6% of the gross domestic product. As an example, PM cited that realigning the proposed P25.2 billion PDAF in 2014 can pay for the annual Philhealth premiums of 14 million Filipinos, a third of the adult population. “The rest of the population can be covered by abolishing the PSF and other presidential pork, and then rechanneling for Philhealth. In this way, we can attain universal health insurance tomorrow,”
He explained that “Workers do not just want to curb corruption by abolishing the pork barrel. We also want to curtail patronage by removing the discretion of politicians in the delivery of social services. Public services must be accessible to all Filipinos as a right without the need to beg for the indulgence of politicians.”