22 August 2013

[FYI in Rappler] Youth groups: Scrap pork barrel, sue those who misused it

by David Lozada

Photo from Rappler.com.
MANILA, Philippines – Youth groups are calling on President Aquino and lawmakers to "eliminate the pork barrel system to ultimately destroy the root of many sources of corruption in the country.”

“With the recent reports involving allegations on how the PDAF was misused, we now have before us a clearer picture of how public trust is betrayed by those in public office,” the Freedom of Information Youth Initiative said in a statement issued on Thursday, August 21.

The group, which claims to be a national network of 129 youth and student organizations, also called on the Department of Justice, the Office of the Ombudsman, and the Commission on Audit to initiate charges against those who misused and abused the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of lawmakers.

“In the wake of their findings, we demand that all those who are proven to have used public funds to further personal interests, be they government officials or private citizens, must be punished with the fullest extent of the law,” the youth group said.

Public, not personal development

The youth group said the PDAF was meant to be useful for "development assistance" to constituents of Congress. However, it has not been used for this purpose.

“Time and again, the pork barrel system...has become an incentive for those who assume public office driven by greed and without the objective to genuinely serve,” the youth group said. “It has effectively created a process that gives permanence to patronage politics in all levels of government.”

FYI said that the pork barrel scam shows the need for the passage of the People’s FOI.

“We are certain that every frustration over corrupt practices in government vented through all forms of media by every citizen is a resounding affirmation for the FOI Law to be immediately passed,” the group said.

FYI added, “We strongly believe that with the People’s FOI Law in place, we will be able to guarantee the success of our efforts to shape government into an institution rebuilt with the principles of accountability and transparency.”

The youth group has yet issued a statement whether they will mobilize on the nationwide protest against the pork barrel on National Heroes Day, Monday, August 26. – Rappler.com

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