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The following is the statement of the 7-member Makabayan bloc in Congress on the abolition of the pork barrel system. This was issued last July 16, 2013.

Makabayan bloc: Abolish the pork barrel system!
Challenges Pres. Aquino to delete presidential pork in 2014 budget

Once again, corruption involving the so-called “pork barrel” is in the news. The alleged diversion of legislators’ Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and other lump sum funds of government by the JLN Corporation to bogus NGOs for ghost projects amounting to a mind-boggling P10 billion could very well prove to be one of the biggest corruption rackets in our nation’s history.

Whistleblowers have linked 28 legislators, including 5 senators and 23 House representatives, to the pork barrel scam, which allegedly took place over a period of 10 years.

There must be no sacred cows in the ongoing investigation led by the Department of Justice. The full force of the law should be meted out to those who plundered the nation’s coffers and enriched themselves at the people’s expense.

Pork barrel funds have long been recognized as a massive source of graft and corruption. Kickbacks (the so-called “S.O.P”) are seen as the cost of doing politics as usual. It is the pork barrel system that enables the patronage politics that pervades all levels of government, from the barangays to Malacañang. The Aquino administration has proven itself to be no less adept than its predecessor at making use of PDAF and other lump sum funds as a tool for imposing its will on Congress, reducing its role to a mere rubber stamp on many issues.

In short, the pork barrel system is a form of institutionalized patronage and officially tolerated graft and corruption. Contrary to claims by other legislators that more and better safeguards can be implemented to prevent abuse, the current scam proves that the pork barrel system is beyond salvaging and should be abolished.

We, the Makabayan Coalition, have consistently stood for the abolition of PDAF and the whole pork barrel system, even as we recognized that, up to this point, such a position would make little headway in Congress. However, we are confident that the righteous public outrage generated by the sheer magnitude of the plunder allegedly perpetrated by this P10 billion pork barrel scam will provide the momentum needed to move this issue forward.

We are, therefore, filing a bill for the abolition of the pork barrel system. The bill shall prohibit the President from providing a budgetary item or including in the proposed budget submitted to Congress every fiscal year lump sum allocations to the PDAF and other lump sum discretionary amounts. Aside from the legislators’ pork barrel, the bill shall also abolish the Presidential pork barrel funds, such as the President’s Social Fund sourced from revenue-generating agencies like PAGCOR, PCSO, and the Malampaya Fund.

Even as we push for the urgent enactment of this bill, we shall also wage the fight for the abolition of pork in the deliberations on the President’s proposed budget for 2014.

We call on like-minded legislators in the House to support our bill. We urge members of the Senate to file a counterpart measure. Lastly, we challenge President Aquino not to include the legislative pork barrel such as PDAF and the Presidential pork barrel funds in the 2014 budget and subsequent budgets that he will submit to Congress.

Makabayan is a political coalition that is presently comprised of 7 representatives in Congress from four progressive parties: Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, Gabriela Women’s party, Kabataan and ACT Teachers party list. #

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