21 August 2013

The Youth's Call for the Restoration of Public Trust (FYI Statement on PDAF and FOI)

We, the people, are called to seek accountability and transparency in government.

With the recent reports involving allegations on how the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) was misused, we now have before us a clearer picture of how public trust is betrayed by those in public office.

We in the FOI Youth Initiative (FYI) urge the Department of Justice, the Office of the Ombudsman, and the Commission on Audit to work together to efficiently conduct a thorough investigation of this scandal that continues to weaken the very fabric of our democracy. 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.

We in the FYI appeal to the President and our representatives in both Houses of Congress to unite with us in the call to eliminate the pork barrel system to ultimately destroy the root of many sources of corruption in the country. We recognize that the purpose of the PDAF is to supposedly address the needs of the constituents of Congress in their respective localities. However, time and again, the pork barrel system, through the PDAF, has become an incentive for those who assume public office driven by greed and without the objective to genuinely serve. 

‘Development assistance’ should have been the true goal of the disbursements controlled by our legislators. The pork barrel, borne out of traditional politics, has mutated into a tool for corruption fuelled by moral bankruptcy. It has effectively created a process that gives permanence to patronage politics in all levels of government. This is why we, the youth—the future leaders who will take the reins of power in this nation, are in solidarity with all sectors of society in calling for the abolition of the pork barrel system. 

Ultimately, we call on the House of Representatives and the Senate to show their sincerity in our struggle against corruption by enacting laws that will safeguard the spending of the people’s funds, starting with the passage of the Freedom of Information Law. 

MalacaƱang is said to be waiting for a clear public clamor first before fully supporting this measure. However, we in the FYI 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. 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.

We, the people, call on our government to fulfill its duty to restore public trust.

We seek justice. We seek integrity. We seek nothing less.

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