More rallies promised if Aquino ignores ‘pork’ abolition calls

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MANILA, Sept. 12, 2013— President Benigno Aquino III has the whole month of September to abolish totally the pork barrel system or face more protests, an influential religious group has warned. 

An official of the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines (AMRSP) said Aquino should decide “the soonest” as Congress deliberates on the proposed P2.268 trillion national budget. 

“While the Congress deliberates on the budget, we must remain vigilant because that’s where the hokus pokus are happening,” said Fr. Marlon Lacal, AMRSP executive secretary. 

“He (Aquino) should decide at the soonest possible time,” he said. “We are giving the President until the end of this month to finally decide (for the abolition of pork barrel).” 

The AMRSP official said that their campaign will continue until all forms of pork barrel are abolished, principally the priority development assistance fund which is lump sum and discretionary. 

Lacal also called on the public to join another rally against the pork barrel at the Luneta in Manila on Friday, September 13. 

He said the people should put pressure on the government against corruption and abuse of power by some public leaders. 

 “Our prophetic responsibility compels all of us to make our voice be heard by all concerns. We cannot be idle with what are happening around us,” he said. 

The Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines has also invited its member schools to participate in the rally dubbed “Forward March to #abolishpork” from 3pm to 6pm. 

The gathering is a multi-sectoral initiative and will begin with an interfaith service. The program will also feature a cultural presentation that will discuss issues of corruption in the pork barrel system. 

The CEAP said the event will be an education venue as the majority of the participants come from the youth sector. 

Before going to Luneta, the AMRSP will hold a “Mass for Truth” at the San Agustin Church in Intramuros, Manila at 2pm. 

After the liturgical celebration, various priests, nuns, seminarians and members of other Christian Churches will hold a procession going to Luneta. 

The Episcopal Commission on Youth (ECY) of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has also called on the young faithful to join the anti-pork barrel rally and let their voices be heard. 

“The good thing is, the people, especially the youth have not given up hope. Many of us are still up to finding an answer, to cure the malady that weakens our system and government,” said Fr. Conegundo Garganta, ECY executive secretary. 

“We still believe that by coming together and offer dialogue as a way to discover solutions—peace will reign soon,” he said. (CBCPNews)

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