Churches, groups stage Bukidnon ‘anti pork’ rally

13 september buk pork2

Jose Benemerito of Bayan addresses the crowd at the Plaza Rizal| Bukidnon News contributed photo

MALAYBALAY CITY (Bukidnon News/13 September) Representatives from churches and progressive groups in Bukidnon staged a march protest on September 13 at the Plaza Rizal calling for the abolition of Priority Development and Assistance Fund (PDAF).

Protesters blamed pork barrel for senators, representatives and that of President Benigno Aquino III, as the main cause of corruption.

Through PDAF, a congressman receives P70 million and a senator P200 million per year.

“The pork barrel system has long been the subject of expose and rumor as a key component of patronage politics and plunder of the Philippine public treasury,” said Rev. Arturo A. Veladiez, conference minister of the United Church of Christ of the Philippines (UCCP) – Bukidnon Area Conference.

Veladiez read the pastoral letter from UCCP signed by eight UCCP Bishops from Luzon and Mindanao on Sept. 12.

“The piercing evidence, that billions in public funds have been stolen by corrupt politicians and their cohorts, rightly elicits our anger, disgust, and corrective action. What makes this a double insult to our Christians sensibility is that these funds have been stolen largely under auspices of providing development assistance in poor and needy communities,” the letter said.

The bishops cited that they have paid a significant portion of their earnings as taxes with an understanding that these monies are utilized to uplift the nation including efforts toward poverty alleviation for economically poor families.

“Sadly, our political leaders have proven themselves to be no better than Judas – their pronouncement of the needs of the poor has been merely a facade for their own thievery and abuse of power.”

The letter cited that the country has been betrayed by those stealing from the common purse.

The poor, they added, continued to endure hunger, demolition, unemployment and underdevelopment, receive the brunt of the plunder.

“In light of this grave abuse and plunder, we, bishops of UCCP call for the pork barrel system … to be abolished. We demand a thorough investigation and prosecution of those who have manipulated and plundered pork barrel for personal gain,” he added.

The group assembled at around 1pm at the Capitol grounds and marched to Magsaysay Street via C.M. Recto Street to Fortich Street before converging at the Plaza Rizal where speakers took turns in addressing the crowd.

The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) Bukidnon led the rally along with their allied organizations (Bukidnon News).