MANILA, Philippines – While the declaration of the unconstitutionality of the Priority Development Assistance Fund by the Supreme Court is victory for the people, the fight is long from over.
This is according to the Scrap Pork Network (SPN), a group of anti-pork barrel citizen advocates that was formed following the public outrage against the misuse of public funds.
Public outrage grew and simultaneous citizen-led protests were staged across and outside the country, as news developed on how pork barrel went straight to the pockets of a few individuals instead of its intended beneficiaries.
In a statement released by SPN, they said that “PDAF is just a component of the pork barrel system, and therefore the struggle to completely eradicate the pork barrel system continues.”
Aside from PDAF, the group is also calling for the abolition of all forms discretionary funds that are prone to abuse and corruption.
In an interview with Rappler Tuesday, November 19, other SPN members added that, following the logic applied by SC over their ruling, similar decision must be made on the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
“Pareho sila [DAP] ng spirit ng PDAF in terms of being discretionary,” said Atty Luke Espiritu.
Victory and vigilance
Budget experts and some lawmakers have questioned the legality of DAP, a spending mechanism employed by the current administration to fast track spending. The President on the other hand has already addressed the nation through a televised speech justifying the realignment of savings through DAP.
Separate oral arguments over DAP have been scheduled by the Supreme Court. (Read: DAP orals: DBM moved funds sans President’s approval)
Pending decisions over the DAP is among the reasons why the group vows to stay vigilant.
Mae Paner, a comedienne vocal about her anti-pork stance, also said the Supreme Court’s favorable ruling may be attributed to the continued vigilance and public pressure manifested by the series of protests held against pork barrel.
Public outrage escalated in a span of only three months. At least two major anti-pork protests in Luneta and Makati, as well as protests outside Metro Manila took place.
“Pwedeng magsaya nang konti pero marami pang kailangang ipagpatuloy,” Paner added.
(There’s room for celebration but there’s still a lot to be done.) – Rappler.com
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