[Statement] Pork Barrel Regime a bane to Filipino workers -NAGKAISA

Pork Barrel Regime a bane to Filipino workers

NAGKAISA! Labor coalition marched from España blvd to Mendiola bridge- File Photo by PhilRights

NAGKAISA! Labor coalition marched from España blvd to Mendiola bridge- File Photo by PhilRights

Official numbers and figures tell no lies—pork barrel, which include the Palace’s Special Purpose Fund (SPF) and Congress’ Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF)–has reached all-time highs under the administration of President Benigno Aquino III. SPF, which are funds under the discretion of Mr. Aquino, is set to be pegged at more than P400 billion in 2014 and out of that, PDAF will be pegged at P25 billion.

The public coffer is overflowing with money, yet this huge amount of money is spent upon the discretion of whoever sits in Malacanang, with no transparency and direct engagement with the people in determining government projects. Such ill-transparency and fiscal dictatorship is ridiculously upheld through Mr. Aquino’s Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), a rip off from former dictator Marcos’ decree (PD 1177 of 1977) which seeks to fast track government spending, but again, under the discretion of one person that is the President, making him the chef of quick fry pork.

This has been the system in past administrations, and this, in the eye of Filipino workers, is the legacy of Mr. Aquino—the leader of the current Pork Barrel Regime fueled by the undemocratic spending of our hard-earned money.

With Mr. Aquino defending and upholding the pork barrel system in his nationally televised public address, and with him hitting anti-pork groups, we in Nagkaisa—the biggest labor coalition in the Philippines—join in the people’s call of scrapping ALL forms of pork barrel which, as government records show, is a major source of corruption in government.

We also the demand the filing of criminal cases against all government officials who have benefited, directly or indirectly, from the pork barrel. Justice and law enforcement must know no influence or position, and it must be dispensed without delay. Officials who determine the budget under the current system, such as Budget secretary Florencio Abad, Senate President Franklin Drilon, and House Speaker Sonny Belmonte must also be held accountable for crafting pork-filled budgets.

Instead of a Pork Barrel Regime, we want a government built upon genuine democracy, wherein working Filipinos who automatically pay their taxes are engaged in budgeting and policy making. Such participative budgeting system, in our view, is a major step toward combating corruption.

Finally, we in Nagkaisa demand the government to allocate our money, in the most transparent and democratic way, to social services and real jobs creation especially since the Filipino worker is getting poorer due to contractual labor and small wage.

Scrap all pork! Filipino workers, unite for a democratic, transparent, and accountable government! ###

NAGKAISA is the broadest coalition of labor groups in the Philippines to date composed of labor centers, federations and national unions, which include the Alliance of Filipino Workers (AFW), affiliates of the Associated Labor UnionsTrade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP), members of SENTRO, Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), Confederation of Independent Unions in the Public Sector (CIU), Federation of Free Workers (FFW), Manggagawa para sa Kalayaan ng Bayan (MAKABAYAN), National Federation of Labor Unions (NAFLU), National Mines and Allied Workers’ Union (NAMAWU), National Confederation of Labor (NCL), Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA), Philippine Government Employees Association (PGEA), Partido ng Manggagawa (PM), Public Services Labor Independent Confederation (PSLINK), Philippine Transport and General Workers Organization (PTGWO), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority-Association of Concerned Employees (TESDA-ACE).

NAGKAISA Statement
November 7, 2013

Contact Persons:
Leody De Guzman (BMP) – 09205200672
Joshua Mata (APL) – 09177942431

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