Quezon farmers say Aquino’s pork abolition ‘deceptive’

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LUCENA CITY, Philippines—Quezon farmers chided President Benigno Aquino III for his deceptive abolition of the controversial Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

“That was a deceptive declaration. What the people have been demanding is the full and real abolition of the pork barrel system,” Jansepth Geronimo, spokesman of the People’s Movement in Quezon Against Corruption (PMQAC), said over the phone Friday evening.

He added: “If he is really sincere in throwing out the anomalous budget in the dustbin of history, he should first forego his own presidential pork barrel. But he did not say even a single word about it.”

Geronimo declared that the planned people’s protest assembly dubbed as “a day of rage at the park” on Monday at the Perez Park here will still push through.

“The people will still have to remain vigilance. The struggle against the evil of the pork barrel is not yet over. It will only be over if President Aquino will abolish the whole system for good and send the thieves to jail,” Geronimo said.

PMQAC was convened by the Coalition of Coconut Farmers in Quezon, Ugnayan ng Magsasaka sa Gitnang Quezon and Alay-Kapwa Multi-Purpose Cooperatives.

On Friday, Aquino announced the abolition of the lawmakers PDAF in a surprise press conference. But his statement on the abolition drew suspicion from pork barrel critics.

“After President Aquino’s doublespeak on his declared abolition of the pork barrel, we received words from different sectoral groups that there are more reasons for them to attend the protest assembly,” Geronimo said.

He said they will prepare a huge taurpulin where protesters can affix their signatures in a collective manifestation of rage against Aquino’s deception.

Geronimo claimed Aquino was just pressured by the threat of a nationwide protest against the pork barrel and rampant graft and corruption on Monday.

“Mr. Aquino is not going to abolish it. He will just change the system, drop the name for a new one but the fat of the pork will still remain,” Geronimo said.

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