‘Pork’ breeds patronage politics'

After Holy Mass, Baclaran devotees take part in the signature drive for the complete abolishment of the pork barrel funds at the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help in Parañaque City.(Photo:Raymond A. Sebastián)

QUEZON City, Oct. 29, 2014—A Catholic priest slams “patronage politics”, stressing it is the logical result of pork barrel.

In a recent statement, Fr. Ben Alforque, main convenor of the Church People’s Alliance Against Pork Barrel (CPAAPB), asserts the patronage politics fostered by the pork barrel system “does not bring the best service to the Filipino people, especially the poor”.

‘Sick and tired’

“It has dishonoured our people. It has been a cause of corruption. We want to see our taxes turn into basic and social services that benefit both the poor and the majority; equally, we want to see those who engage in pork barrel and plunder held accountable,” he shares.

According to the priest, Filipinos are “sick and tired” of pork barrel, adding what is needed is “an atmosphere of hope and belief in ourselves.”

Alforque also expresses optimism over the power of unity among Filipinos, saying “when we band together as the people, we have unrivalled power and potential to do what is in the best interest of our nation.”

“In harnessing the power of the people, our nation will surely benefit, but even more, a national budget that actually translates into social and basic service for the poor and majority will be an unprecedented success,” he added.

People’s initiative

Rev. Jerome Baris of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) encourages Christians, to set aside their specific theological differences to stand as one against the pork barrel system.

“A spirit of change and empowerment is at work in our midst. Our prayer is that many will unite in this noble effort. We summon the faithful— from different Christian churches and denominations as well as people from different religious backgrounds and faith traditions—to put their faith into action and join the People’s Initiative to Abolish Pork Barrel,” he said.

CPAAPB, a grassroots formation of Roman Catholic, Protestant, Aglipayan, and other non-Catholic Christians, launched on Sunday, Oct. 26, simultaneous signature campaigns in different churches in Metro Manila.

Dubbed the “National Sign-up to Abolish Pork”, the drives aim to collect as many signatures for the planned People’s Initiative that will finally do away with the much-debated lump-sum funds.

“The Church People’s Alliance to End Pork Barrel stands for truth, justice, and righteousness. The challenge of Pork Barrel is still present and dangerous in the Philippines. We summon the people to sign up and end the corrupt practice of Pork Barrel,” Alforque says. (Raymond A. Sebastián)