Filipinos fed up with corruption to stage rally on National Heroes Day
by FFE PH News staff
Million People March will push through on Monday in Luneta Park, Manila City. This announcement comes after President Benigno Aquino III announced the abolition of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) on Friday.
The Million People March is a protest march that targets the complete scrapping of PDAF or pork barrel and other similar lump sum systems.
Protesters want to rechannel pork barrel funds to social service
PDAF has been the focus of media attention recently since reports by the Commission on Audit (COA) and the Php10-billion pork barrel scam revealed widespread corruption among lawmakers in the Philippine congress.
Under the PDAF system, legislators receive millions of pesos for projects in their districts. The new system proposed by the president will have lawmakers propose their new projects through a strict line-item budgeting where funding will come from the national budget.
Although some senators have lauded the president for taking the initial step towards change, leaders of people’s movements decry that the abolition and proposal was not enough to curb corruption and patronage politics in the government.
According to Vincent Lazatin, executive director of the group Transparency and Accountability Network, the new proposal is “the same pig, but with a different collar.” He added that the president should also abolish his own pork barrel funds.
Mother Mary John Mananzan, OSB, head of the Pagbabago! People’s Movement, said that the new pork system will still breed graft and corruption. She added that lump sum funds bigger than PDAF will still be at the hands of the president.
A number of lawmakers have also expressed their support for the abolition of PDAF. Former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, however, said that the total abolition of all forms of the pork barrel system is necessary if the president means to scrap PDAF.