Aquino silence on pork barrel, economic growth benefits in Sona slammed



President Aquino delivers his SONA at the 16th congress in Batasan Pambansa, Quezon City.. Photo by Edwin Bacasmas/INQUIRER

MANILA, Philippines—Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza scored President Aquino for failing to detail how he would reform the pork barrel system after the P10-billion pork barrel scam was exposed.

“The opportunity was wasted. The entire country was listening but what we got were the reports of the departments which were self-serving,” Atienza said in a Church forum in Intramuros, Manila.

“I didn’t hear anything about the pork barrel. I was waiting for the President to make a firm stand because of the exposé of the P10-billion scam but what we had were a litany of accomplishments which you probably do not feel,” he added.

Former Partido ng Manggagawa party-list Rep. Renato Magtubo pointed out that Aquino did not detail who benefited from the country’s economic growth.

“The question of who really benefited from the growth in the economy was suspiciously absent. If we study this closely, we will see that nothing changed on the issue of poverty in the country,” Magtubo said in the same forum.

He noted that government figures showed that since 2006, 28 percent of the country’s population have been living below the poverty line.

“Where did the 7.8 percent (gross domestic product) go? Ten percent of those with the highest income control 60 percent of the GDP. This just means while the eocnomy grows, inequality also increases,” Magtubo said.

On the other hand, Antipolo bishop Gabriel Reyes lauded the President for his sincerity in fighting corruption.

“I think he is sincere in his fight against corruption. Of course, he cannot do it alone. He needs the help of his colleagues in government. If others will not cooperate with him, nothing will happen,” Reyes said.

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