Local business chambers join outrage over pork barrel; Monday rally on
Business chambers in Cebu yesterday joined other sectors in making their disgust over pork barrel abuses heard loud and clear.
They demanded the “immediate and unconditional abolition” of the discretionary fund of legislators even as Malacañang said a P25 billion allotment for it remains in the 2014 budget with extra safeguards against corruption.
In a full page advertisement in CDN, the Financial Executives Institute of Cebu Inc. (Finex-Cebu), the Cebu and Mandaue Chambers of Commerce deplored the “massive misuse and abuse of taxppayer’s money”.
Tomorrow, a march-rally will be held at 7 a.m. from Fuente Osmeña to Plaza Independencia.
The citizen’s initiative was mounted mainly through an online campaign to match the “Million People march to Luneta”.
The Cebu Archdiocese has also scheduled a Mass at 8 a.m. calling for “discernment on political corruption” and an investigation of the pork barrel scandal. (See Faith page 26)
Business organizations in Cebu called for the creation of a special court to prosecute those involved in the pork barrel anomalies.
“We challenge the senators and congressmen to heed the clamor of their constituents and vote for the abolition of the pork barrel…we appeal to the President to heed the call of his conscience and to act decisively on the clamor of ‘BOSSES,’ who are the ultimate victims of this abuse,” said the manifesto.
Other signatories in the manifesto were the Cebu Business Club, the Cebu Bankers Club, Cebu Leads Foundation Inc., the Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants-Cebu chapter and the University of San Jose Recoletos Cebu School of Law.
Ordinary citizens are being asked to join tomorrow’s rally.
A Facebook page entitled “Cebu Peaceful Protest Against the Pork Barrel System” has issued invitations to more than 5,000 users.
Face masks with pig designs, T-shirts and stickers are ready for distribution with the call “Abolish Pork Barrel Now”.
“The President heard us but we want him to listen…we have more to say,” posted Dr. Rowena Burden, a Cebu cardiologist, who said she and some friends took the initiative of inviting Netizens in Cebu to stage the rally.
Among the organizers are the Movement for a Liveable Cebu.
“This came from growing indignation and frustration as we read more about the P10 billion PDAF scam. Cebu’s citizens have decided to act,” said MLC lead convenor Marc Canton in Friday’s press conference.
In an interview yesterday, Mandaue Chamber president Philip N. Tan said they are worried that only the name of the PDAF would be changed.
“The district scheme in which congressmen know what’s best for their district can work but the PDAF shouldn’t be discretionary because that would lead to corruption,” he said.
“We need President Aquino’s concrete course of action.”
Cebu chamber president Lito Maderazo said the President has to show he’s serious about his pledge to eliminate corruption by scrapping the pork barrel.
“We need to abolish the PDAF because it’s a breeding ground for corruption,” Maderazo said.
“With PDAF abolished, we could have more available funds that we can really use for legitimate projects…President Aquino should rally this cause to his party. The people have spoken, they should heed the call,” he said
Sabino Dapat, chairman of the European Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ECCP) Cebu Business Council, said the public has to be vigilant.
“What is important is that all those involved in this scandal be prosecuted as quickly as possible and punished, whoever they are,” he said.
Cebu Business Club president Gordon Alan Joseph said that scrapping the pork barrel was a “populist move.”
“Between announcing he will do it and actually doing it will be a bloody exercise and liable to paralyze the legislature. But it needs to be done to clean up the system and to strengthen his institutionalization of clean government,” he said.
Partylist group Akbayan thanked President Aquino for his pledge to scrap the PDAF but warned that “the pork barrel must not be resurrected under other names or forms. We must ensure this important victory does not go in vain but that real change is felt by the people,” Akbayan national chairperson Risa Hontiveros said.
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