Palma calls on ‘faithful’ to join
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma urged the people, including priests, to participate in the Sept. 29 rally organized by the Coalition Against the Pork Barrel System in Cebu City.
The Sunday rally set at Fuente Osmeña, has a permit to use the park issued by City Hall, and will start with a Mass at 1:30 p.m.
The rally will echo calls “to scrap the pork barrel system and to denounce corruption.”
Aside from PDAF, Palma said it’s time to abolish the Special Purpose Funds” (SPF) of President Benigno Aquino III as well “to echo the sentiments of many…to make the daang matuwid truly more convincing.”
Palma said rallies are also aimed at discerning ways of addressing the concerns of the poor.
“We will discern so that our hard-earned money will be given back in terms of support, subsidy, and proper handling of money, monitoring of projects and benefits that really matter to the people,” he said.
In an interview yesterday, Palma lamented that the popor don’t receive the assistance they deserve from the government.
“Great amounts of money which are supposed to be used for the common good have been abused. It went to the pockets of other people,” he told reporters.
Palma said he supports the various rallies that have been mounted to denounce corruption.
“We should speak out precisely because we love our country. We love our people. It’s our Christian duty to speak up if it is the right thing to do. If we speak up, we’re not condemning people but a system that did not work. We’re condemning a practice that turned sour,” he said.
“I enjoin the whole Archdiocese of Cebu to be actively involved in this activity. The call is for everyone to be concerned, to be discerning, to be involved,” said Palma in a Sept. 13 letter to bishops, clergy, and the faithful.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has said it is part of “Christian duty to transform society and restore all things in Christ.”
After a 1:30 p.m. Mass at Fuente Osmeña Rotunda, participants will march to Osmeña Blvd, Sanciangko, and back to Fuente Osmena for a program from 3:30 to 6 p.m.
Priests were encouraged to concelebrate the Sunday Mass.
He also asked the faithful to sign the “Unity Statement Against Corruption” being circulated by citizen groups.
The statement opposes the pork barrel system as the center of a corrupt political system.
“In the pork barrel system, lump sum amounts are placed at the discretion of only one person; which allows him/her to use public funds for patronage politics, political dynasties and personal gain. We are united in condemning this corruption,” the statement read.
The group admitted that the public are not just “victims of a corrupt system” but, in one way or another, “contributed to the worsening social cancer—through our indifferent silence or through our cooperation when we were benefiting from the sweet cake of graft and corruption.”
Nationwide street protests have been made following reports in July that Janet Lim-Napoles connived with legislators to pocket some P10 billion in public funds.
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