• Baguio City, Cordillera Administrative Region, Philippines

Abolish the Pork Barrel System! End Bureaucratic Corruption!

September 13, 2013

The Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) reiterates its call for the abolition of the pork barrel system. Billions, and even trillions of pesos have been corrupted by public officials and their cohorts, at the expense of the people, especially historically marginalised sectors like indigenous peoples, who continue to wallow in dire economic conditions. Lest we forget, these funds are taxes paid by the people.

The pork barrel system is a fine example of bureaucrat capitalism. It represents the very rotten system of patronage politics in Philippine society, and defines the relationship between Congress and the Executive or the President. In a bureaucrat capitalist mode of government, the ruling elite, namely big landlords and corporations, political dynasties and other power brokers, plunder and exploit the nation’s coffers, the people’s resources, in order to enrich and entrench themselves in power at the expense of the people, indigenous peoples included!

The Cordillera has always received the lowest allocation from the national budget, further marginalising and denying Cordillera indigenous peoples of their right to basic social services. It is therefore enraging that there exist pork barrel and other lump sum appropriations in the national government’s budget and allocation that end up with the plunderers and corrupt officials! Adding insult to injury, the State, in cahoots with big corporations, continues to treat our Cordillera homeland as a resource base for plunder and exploitation, gravely violating our ancestral land rights.

On top of all these plunder and exploitation of our ancestral lands, our communities are heavily militarised and bombed. How much was spent for the recent military operations in Abra, Kalinga, and Mountain Province? How much exactly is the national government spending for Oplan Bayanihan? How much PDAF or discretionary fund was used? How is PNoy’s intelligence fund going to be used against the people he promised to be his “boss?” The indigenous peoples in the Cordillera and the rest of the country are historically marginalised and neglected, yet it is the people’s money and resources that are systematically corrupted and spent on senseless doings. These are the very resources used to kill people and destroy ancestral lands!

We challenge PNoy to take the lead in abolishing the pork barrel system by giving up his own pork and not simply reforming the PDAF system. The presidential pork amounts to at least P450 billion. We denounce Malacañang’s special treatment ofJanet Lim-Napoles, big-time plunderer and orchestrator of an elaborate scam. By doing so, PNoy has already made clear his disinterest in pursuing justice and accountability in the massive PDAF scam and this whole fiasco of corruption, for that matter. Again, ‘daang matuwid’ is nothing but empty rhetoric, and Malacañang now appears to be the sanctuary of plunderers. Napoles’ ‘surrender’ in Malacanang clearly raised more questions than provided answers.

Malacanang should heed the people’s clamor for the abolition of the pork barrel system and accountability of all individuals involved, and this is beyond Janet Lim-Napoles. The pork barrel must be re-channeled to basic services for the people, for the welfare of indigenous peoples. ***