Monday's march vs pork just the beginning
Malacanang won’t stop gov’t officials, employees from joining march
MANILA -- The call for the abolition of the pork barrel will not be over on Monday, with the public expecting more transparency and accountability once the message is put in place.
All systems are a go for the “The Million People March” on August 26, National Heroes’ Day, at the Luneta Park in Manila. One of the “organizers,” Peachy Bretana, said a simultaneous “citizen’s democratic exercise” will happen in different parts of the country and abroad such as Geneva, San Francisco, New York, Hong Kong, Ontario, Vancouver and many more.
“I hope many more will be coming, and the one million will not only be in Luneta,” said the reluctant organizer, the first to call on social media the political exercise after the so-called pork barrel scam was revealed.
Over at Change.org, Bretana started another petition urging the government to account for all spent pork and punish the abusers.
“If we truly want to rid the nation of corruption, we cannot focus only on one sector or one administration. There is no such thing as “unaccountable” power to spend OUR money,” she said.
On Monday, there will not be one leader, but only the public who will push for the scrapping of the pork barrel and any other by a different name, she said.
Even Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle is adding his voice to “The Million People March.”
“As far as I know there is no real organizer of the picnic on August 26. It seems to be a fruit of social media. The church has no official statement about it and we leave it to people to join or not. But we enjoin those who decide to go to Luneta to study the issues to be committed to integrity and to maintain peace and hope,” Tagle told Radio Veritas.
Jesus is Lord (JIL) president Bro. Eddie Villanueva, on the other hand, also called on the public to join in prayers for repentance and humility.
“We are calling on all leaders of various pillars of society to do the most heroic act -- lead their respective sectors in heeding God’s admonition for His people to seek His face, humble ourselves and pray and turn from our wicked ways. Let us go out to Luneta not only to register our indignation to corruption but also to do the most important thing -- pray,” he said.
Coinciding with Monday's event, church groups will also hold a “mass for truth and justice” in Luneta.
Malacanang, on the other hand, does not see anything wrong with its officials and employees joining ranks with the public on Monday.
In an interview with radio dzRB, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said: “Malaya po ang lahat ng gusting sumali sa pagkilos.”
She said Malacanang is encouraging everyone to join in “participatory governance” in order to make government officials accountable for every peso spent in the budget.
On Friday, President Benigno Aquino III finally called on abolishing the existing pork barrel system to make way for a more restricted system.
“Ngayon, bubuo tayo ng bagong mekanismo upang matugunan ang pangangailangan ng inyong mga mamamayan at sektor–sa paraang tapat, gamit ang tama at makatuwirang proseso, at nang may sapat na mga kalasag laban sa pang-aabuso at katiwalian,” he had said.
This attracted a gamut of reactions, however. Some said Aquino merely suggested a pork system by another name.
“Bukas tayo sa pakikipag-usap, maganda na mayroong talakayan,” Valte insisted, saying now the debate has been opened, many people are expected to express their opinions in order to make the budget process a more transparent one.
Even with Aquino calling for a different system, he wants that metrics are in place, she said.