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Editorial

In the footsteps of heroes

/ 03:48 PM August 26, 2013

If the forebears whom we celebrate were alive today, National Heroes’ Day, they would be nodding in approval of every Filipino who is working for the abolition of the pork barrel.

Dr. Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, Apolinario Mabini, Melchora Aquino and countless others did not lay down their lives to throw our motherland to oppressors among her own sons and daughters.

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When the Philippine revolt against colonizer Spain was nigh, Bonifacio wrote what could be said today amid the darkness wrought by the pork barrel system: “Reason tells us not to waste time hoping for the promised prosperity that will never come and materialize.”

“Reason tells us,” the great plebeian said, “to be united in sentiment, thought and purpose in order to have the strength to combat the prevailing evils in our country.”

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Politics based on patronage and oiled by pork barrel funds is at the heart of the evils prevailing in the Philippines.

The phenomenon is so insidious that as we saw last week, the son of heroes, President Benigno Aquino III could show only a feeble semblance of abolishing the priority development assistance fund (PDAF).

President Aquino announced Friday that the time has come for the pork barrel to be abolished only for Budget Secretary Florencio Abad to clarify later that the PDAF remains in the General Appropriations Act for 2014.

Did not Rizal write that “Cowardice rightly understood begins with selfishness and ends with shame”?

From refineries in Middle Eastern deserts, embassies in the US to ships sailing the oceans of the world, Filipinos cry for the President to scrap the pork barrel immediately, not to announce, as  he did, stricter mechanisms for politicians to bleed our coffers.

Never since the Second People Power Revolt toppled president Joseph Estrada in 2001 has the nation been in an uproar over official atrocity.

The people’s call culminates today in the Million People March against the pork barrel in historic sites like Rizal Park in Manila, Plaza Independencia in Cebu City and Freedom Park in Davao City.

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Malacañang under P-Noy courts ignominy in continuing—out of fear of retribution from allies—to give any official unbridled discretion in spending people’s money.

Popular indignation will not fizzle out in the near future.

Fugitive Janet Napoles and the legislators involved in the P10 billion pork barrel scam have yet to be probed and jailed. Abusers must be punished.

The Commission on Audit’s findings about pork abuse only cover the years 2007 to 2009. What happened to pork in the first half of P-Noy’s administration?

President Aquino must set an example of making the supreme sacrifice by renouncing his own office’s claim to pork.

If he truly favors participatory governance, he must channel all pork to local development councils where people were meant to have a genuine say on which course the country should take in the quest for progress.

As Rizal would say, “The example could encourage others who only fear to start.”

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TAGS: abolition of pork barrel, editorial, Filipino, National Heroes Day, opinion
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