Bishop Iñiguez: More rallies, media exposés to end pork barrel system
MANILA, Philippines–Former Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez said on Wednesday that the biggest challenge facing the Filipino people today is to change the hearts of government leaders involved in the misuse of the congressional Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or “pork barrel.”
Iñiguez believes that more demonstrations and media campaigns will deal a death blow to the pork barrel system.
“Corruption has become systemic. It has become part of the political culture and this is our greatest challenge–the change of heart of our government leaders,” he said.
The 72-year-old Iñiguez urged Filipinos to join forces in letting the government officials hear the cries of the people whether they are in their homes or at the Edsa Tayo rally, currently happening at the Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue Shrine on Ortigas Avenue.
“To the politicians, although we do not expect your presence [in anti-pork rallies], we are hoping that through our gatherings, we can get to focus your attention in the PDAF issue so you yourselves can make an action on this,” he said.
Iñiguez, who resigned as the bishop on January, said that citizen awareness must be heightened amid the anomalies behind the pork barrel allegedly committed by government leaders themselves.
“This consciousness awakening must be continued through mass demonstrations like this or through the help of media in disseminating the truth,” he added.
He pointed out that the intention of the Edsa Tayo prayer rally, which was endorsed by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), was to unveil “what was really happening with the pork barrel.”
Tentatively, there will be follow-up prayer rallies and vigils on September 13 and 21 calling for the complete abolition of the pork barrel system.
Meanwhile, one of the Edsa Tayo rally organizer Junep Ocampo, a former editor of a major news broadsheet, called the “Edsa Tayo” as a concept, which concerned anti-pork citizens can adopt.
“But we have no plans of making this concept as a political or lobby group,” Ocampo told INQUIRER.net.
Ocampo was one of the seven main organizers composed of former and current media persons from different media outfits.
No untoward incident
National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) head chief superintendent Marcelo Garbo Jr. said that the event was generally peaceful and there were no any untoward incident reported as of press time.
“Regarding the No Backpack policy, it was the priests and Church who requested it and we, the security force backed the policy in order to maintain the security of the Edsa Tayo rally,” Garbo told the reporters.
Some protesters have brought streamers and banners despite the Edsa Tayo rule that these materials were not allowed but it was settled amicably by the groups and the police.
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