Groups nix PNoy's 'abolish pork' announcement
Give up your own 'pork,' PNoy told
MANILA – Several leftist groups are not buying President Aquino's announcement today on the abolition of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel.
Aquino earlier announced that he wants the pork barrel funds be abolished and replaced with a new system where the country's impoverished sector can still access help from the government.
The president said lawmakers can still propose projects, but they will have to be included in the national budget as line items.
Health services, scholarships, and livelihood projects are among projects that will still be allowed while soft projects and short-term infrastructure projects will not be allowed anymore.
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) secretary-general Renato Reyes Jr. slammed the announcement, saying Aquino was merely rehashing the same 'pork' system by giving it a new name.
Reyes believes that Aquino was just trying to preempt the large anti-pork protest on Monday. He also scored the president for not abolishing the supposed "presidential pork."
"To Mr. Aquino, pork by any name is still pork. Aquino expectedly did not move to abolish presidential pork which is much larger than the PDAF, at least P450 billion by some estimates. Aquino again misleads the nation with promises of reform while retaining the very corrupt system of patronage politics that pork represents," Reyes said in a statement.
"The protest on Monday must push through to call for the abolition of all congressional and presidential pork and for accountability not just of [Janet Lim] Napoles but all officials involved up to the present Aquino government."
Another leftist group, Anakbayan, said it does not see any reform in the statement of Aquino today.
"His talk of 'abolition' is double speak. He is actually securing and defending his pork and other lump sums. His presidential pork will not be touched," said Anakbayan chairperson Vencer Crisostomo.
"The 2014 budget proposal is in fact a pork barrel budget with lots of 'special purpose funds,' 'unprogrammed funds,' and 'automatic appropriations.' Under public fire recently for instance is Malampaya fund, PCSO presidential social fund and other off-budget accounts amounting to hundreds of billions. "
Meanwhile, Kabataan party-list said Aquino's introduction of reforms to the PDAF system is meant to give the Executive department a tighter grip on the funds.
"By jumping on the bandwagon of the people's disgust for the pork barrel system, Aquino is trying to cover up the fact that he has the 'greatest pork of all.'"
"Aquino has, in fact, not outrightly called for the abolition of the pork barrel. Instead, he only proposed a series of so-called reforms that would in fact even give the Executive Department greater power over PDAF,"Kabataan Rep. Terry Ridon said.