MANILA, Philippines — People from all walks of life are expected to march on the streets of Cebu, Negros Occidental, Aklan, Capiz and Iloilo on Monday morning (Aug. 26) to call for the scrapping of the pork barrel.
At the same time, civic and business groups in Cebu and a multi-sectoral group in Bacolod have issued separate manifestos, asking President Aquino to heed to the voices of his “bosses.”
Fashion models will join veteran street parliamentarians on the grounds of the provincial capitol at 9 a.m. Participants will wear white and have been asked to bring food.
At least 10 fashion models under the House of Emmangelo will bear placards in a photo shoot with participants dubbed “Fashion Against Pork” as part of the program.
The modeling house and event organizer has posted: “Pork Barrel: Ugly, Uncool and Unfashionable,” in its Facebook page.
“This is part of our social responsibility. We all pay taxes and we have the last say where these should go,” said Michaelangelo Ferrer, proprietor of the modeling house.
Among the groups and sectors that will join are the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industries-Iloilo (PCCI-Iloilo), Iloilo Press Club (IPC), Bayan Muna, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, artists, photographers and bikers.
Similar activities also calling for the investigation and prosecution of legislators involved in alleged anomalies involving the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) will be held in Aklan and Capiz provinces.
In the capital town of Kalibo in Aklan, protesters led by the College Editors Guild of the Philippines and Bayan will hold a picket at the Crossing Banga at 1 p.m. A similar protest activity will also be held in Roxas City in Capiz.
Businessmen are joining the “Anti-Corruption Peace Gathering” that will kick off at the Fuente Osmeña rotunda in Cebu City at 7 a.m. They will then march to the Plaza Independencia in downtown Cebu City.
A Catholic Mass initiated by the Cebu Archdiocese will be held at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral at 8 a.m., seeking for discernment on political corruption as well as an investigation of the misuse of the PDAF.
Civic and business groups published a manifesto, demanding the immediate and unconditional abolition of the pork barrel funds in all its forms.
They also called for the creation of a special and independent court to prosecute and render impartial judgement on all those involved in the pork barrel anomalies.
They also dared legislators to vote for the abolition of the pork barrel and carry out their legislative duties without the need of these funds to serve their constituents.
“We appeal to the President of the Republic of the Philippines to heed the call of his conscience and to act decisively on the clamor of his ‘bosses’ who are the ultimate victims of this abuse, in line with his ‘Daang Matuwid’ program,” they wrote.
The manifesto was signed by the Financial Executives Institute of Cebu, Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Cebu Business Club, Cebu Bankers Club, Cebu Leads Foundation Inc., Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants -Cebu chapter and University of San Jose Recoletos Cebu School of Law.
In Negros Occidental, the multi-sectoral group Negrosanons Kontra Korapsyon will spearhead the anti-pork rally dubbed as Tipon Tipon sa Lagoon in front of the provincial Capitol building about 9 a.m. on Monday (Aug. 26).
The group is composed of leaders from 20 people’s and non-government organizations, lawyers, drivers, business and tourism groups, and representatives of the academe.
In a manifesto, the group called for an investigation, prosecution, conviction, punishment and restitution of all misused funds.
“The pork barrel system in the Philippines has clearly become the worst example of immoral and wanton use of public funds that should have resulted in real, concrete and sustainable socio-economic development in the countryside,” the manifesto said.
The group said the discretionary and uncontrolled use of the PDAF deprived many Filipinos of social services, infrastructure, education and other public services.
They demanded not only transparency and accountability, but also equitable and wise utilization of government funds. They stressed that all development funds should be taken out of the discretion and control of legislators so that government could truly finance programs that would help develop the different parts of the country. Reports filed by Carla P. Gomez, Carine Asutilla, Connie E. Fernandez and Nestor P. Burgos Jr. Inquirer Visayas