Campus journalists, together with other progressive people’s organizations gathered today in front of the Supreme Court (SC) as the oral arguments regarding the Disbursement Allocation Program (DAP), a form of presidential pork barrel, are being held.
The SC has previously ruled that the PDAF or congressional pork barrel is unconstitutional and should therefore be abolished. Malacañang, however, has denied allegations on the existence of a presidential pork barrel.
“It is not true that Aquino does not have any pork barrel. The national budget is laden with lump-sum funds and special purpose funds that are used at the discretion of the President,” stated Marc Lino Abila, National Secretary General of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines.
These funds are said to be used to allocate budget for services or projects whose funds are needed yet insufficient. However, CEGP says that these funds instead, are used for personal affairs such as bribery. Furthermore, CEGP reiterated that instead of pork barrel, the annual budget should be allocated to basic social services such as housing, health, and education, among others.
“While a big portion of the budget is allocated to pork barrel, basic social services receive continuous cuts resulting to different hikes such as power rate hikes, oil price hikes, and tuition hikes. Moreover, despite alleged allocation of these pork barrel funds to typhoon Yolanda victims, a large number of survivors claim that they have not received a trickle of aid from the government,” claimed Abila.
CEGP further emphasized the need to demand accountability from the government for the ongoing corruption in the system, stating that they should look not only into the congressional pork barrel but all forms of pork barrel.
“Malacañang even has the nerve to threaten court justices with impeachment should they vote against pork barrel. It is clear that the government will do everything to control these funds and abandon the needs of the Filipino people. Therefore, we must remain vigilant and demand accountability from the Aquino government for the criminal acts of corruption it is doing. Should it not accommodate the people’s demands, Aquino should resign,” stated Abila.###