By Kristine Ann M. Fernandez.
YOUTH SECTOR, ADVOCATES, artists, teachers, media personnel, and other everyday taxpayers gathered and all wore white shirts at the Rizal Boulevard to join the nationwide Million People March that calls to abolish Pork Barrel, Monday morning.
Around one hundred Dumaguetenos showed their support to scrap the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or Pork Barrel which according to the government is a lump-sum appropriation to fund the “priority development programs and projects of the government.”
It has been under the spotlight for the past weeks after the controversial Napoles pork barrel scam pranced from front page to front page of newspapers and media outlets.
During the movement, people from different ages and sectors have expressed their opinions regarding the pork barrel issue.
PDAF for the masses
Danny, a 48-year old peanut and bottled water vendor, continued to peddle at the boulevard during the movement despite the nipping heat of the sun. He didn’t wear a white shirt unlike the others but a vendor himself had something to say.
When the Weekly Sillimanian asked Danny if he supports the cause, he said, “Agree kayo pero planuhan sa daan kay kita man ang maapektuhan sad. (I strongly agree but it has to be planned well because we will be the one affected.)”
Danny added, “Bisan tuod ma-ihap ra ang tawo (diri) basta at least nagpagawas sa iyang gibati. (Even though there are a few people here, at least they expressed their feelings.)”
Present in the movement was a banda mangga player, Noe Tintin, a 27-year old resident in Brgy. Colon Extension. Although Tintin was at the movement to perform along with his band mates, he said that he is okay with the existence of pork barrel. “Kana ra mang mga korakot maoy kuhaon sa katilingban, ipabilin ra ang pork barrel kay ang pork barrel importante man gud para sa mga projects ug education (Only the corrupt officials have to be removed, the pork barrel has to remain because it is important for the projects and education),” he said.
But when asked further about his stand, Tintin just uttered, “Bahala na.”
PDAF for a legislator
Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares, a legislator who has been pushing for the scrapping of PDAF, joined the movement in Dumaguete.
He said: “The call is to abolish it not to reform it, not to put in rules and regulation. The call is valid, the call is reasonable, and more importantly the call is coming from the very people who are the sources of these funds.”
Colmenares also cleared out the statement of President Noynoy Aquino two days before the Million People March took place. He said: “When the president announced he was for abolishing pork, we were elated. When we got to really read the statement we noticed that it was really a double speak. He said ‘it is about time to abolish PDAF’, he did not say ‘I will abolish PDAF’…and when you say ‘it’s about time,’ it could be next year, it could be two years from now. So basically he did not abolish the pork, that’s why the rally was big today because people don’t believe him…
In that speech, he only mentioned the congressional pork. He did not mention the presidential pork. The presidential pork is huge, kumbaga yung PDAF biik lang yun, yung presidential pork inahin yun, malaki yun at least Ps 450B na yun.”