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CBCP supports the People’s to abolish the pork barrel system

Press Release
July 8, 2014

CEBU CITY – The people’s initiative to abolish the pork barrel system got a big boost from the recently concluded plenary assembly of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines.

The Catholic Bishops agreed to support the people’s initiative, which aims to enact a law that abolishes presidential and congressional pork barrel, prohibits and criminalizes appropriation and use of lump sum discretionary funds and mandates line item budgeting.

The CBCP’s decision comes at a time when the Catholics nationwide are celebrating 2014 as “The Year of the Laity”.

During the discussion of various issues under the CBCP Committee on the Laity, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma appealed to his colleagues to give moral blessing and backing to two people’s initiatives – that of the People’s Initiative to Abolish Pork Barrel and the People’s Initiative Against Political Dynasties.

“In order to put a final lid on the pork barrel system, specifically in the legislative and executive branches of government, we support the proposal from anti-pork barrel groups in the whole country that the sovereign people use the 1987 Philippine Constitution provision on the passage of a law through the people’s initiative,” Archbishop Palma said.

The anti-pork people’s initiative is being spearheaded by the newly formed coalition, the People’s Initiative to Abolish Pork Barrel (PIAP).

PIAP includes the Abolish Pork Movement, Cebu Coalition Against Pork Barrel, Church People Against Pork Barrel, E-Pirma, Makabayan, Scrap Pork Network and Solidarity.

Many organizations also stand behind the people’s initiative in pushing to define and prohibit political dynasties. The CBCP had issued a pastoral statement in January 2013, denouncing the worsening problem of political dynasties nationwide.

After a discussion in the CBCP plenary, a consensus emerged to focus first and ensure the success of the people’s initiative to abolish the pork barrel system and next, the people’s initiative against political dynasty.

The CBCP saw the pork barrel as a burning and pressing issue that has sparked people’s outrage, providing favorable conditions for the initiative to end congressional and presidential pork barrel, a big source of corruption and patronage politics.

The Bishops agreed to back the August 23, 2014 People’s Congress being called by the coalition PIAP. The People’s Congress will finalize the people’s initiative proposed law against pork barrel and firm up plans for nationwide education and signature campaign. A kick-off rally will be held at Plaza Independencia on the same day to start the nationwide signature drive.