By Richard James Mendoza
JUST a few weeks ago, former Chief Justice Reynato Puno introduced the idea of crafting a law abolishing all kinds of pork barrel by means of a people’s initiative through Republic Act 6735, also known as theInitiative and Referendum Law. Multiple sectors have expressed their support for the people’s initiative; among those who have thrown in their support are the Catholic Church through the CBCP, as well as the transport sector and various militant groups—with the latter two planning to hold gatherings to gain signatures to help meet the required number of signatories.
Malacanang on their part wasn’t too receptive of the idea, with Sec. Coloma saying that the people’s initiative “presupposes that the Legislative and the Executive branches of government are unwilling to enact and implement laws that will prevent the misuse of public funds.” Well thank you very much, Captain Obvious (or should I say Captain Oblivious?)! It should have been apparent by now that under the present administration, the Executive and Legislative branches of thegovernment are unwilling to enact and implement the laws preventing the misuse of public funds, whatever they may be.
No amount of deception created by your multi-headed Communications Office can cover the fact that a culture of impunity is being maintained by those in power. These people know that under such conditions they can get either get away with their crimes scot-free, or receive a mere slap in the wrist should they get their hands caught in the proverbial cookie jar.
Personally, I’m skeptical about the outcome of this people’s initiative. After the Oct. 4 rally in Ayala, all of a sudden CJ Puno shows up with this idea. Though CJ Puno’s people initiative is a welcome move that warrants its support, it should be taken with a grain of salt for the possibility of the move being hijacked (or even supported) by outside forces is very much real and shouldn’t be easily ignored. And no, it’s not going to be the ND Left like what the Million People March organizers have always insinuated with their statements.
I’m talking about the US imperialists of course, with the CIA along with the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) as well as their related surveillance fronts like the US Aid, The Asia Foundation, etc., in coordination with the Yellows in power.
Besides, the proposed people’s initiative is merely reformist in nature; it seeks to change the present circumstances within the framework of the corrupt system. Yet, it is interesting to note thatthe people’s initiative was described by CJ Puno as “…the last peaceful alternative for the people to take charge of their destiny” and that “no other option would be left” should this option fail. Doesthis call for a more radical undertaking?
After the past several months of public outrage against the pork barrel system that manifested an underlying problem in the present political system of the Philippines; from the so-called “MillionPeople March” and the humorous failure of “EDSA TAYO!,” to the #ScrapPork network consisting of various anti-corruption coalitions and groups that were formed in the midst of the outrage against pork,now comes the next step of the plan.
Though there are a few exceptions, I don’t think that the people are falling for the lies of the Aquino regime. As of press time, the President had just finishedhis little defense of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) on live TV, insisting that it’s not pork barrel and that it’s the fault of the opposition, the progressive Left, and of course his favoritescapegoat Gloria Arroyo.Based on personal experience, the power of collective action to bring concrete results is uncontested. It’s time to raise the level of discussion in order to arouse the people about the issues that faceour country, organize them into units, and then mobilize under a united front.
It’s now time to push for a more direct and perhaps radical solution. Because until the ruling classes continue to thriveon the exploitation of the oppressed masses, they won’t even bother to listen to our demands let alone take action for this issue. When our backs are pushed against the wall, what else can be done? Do we just ask the oppressor to stop?Reflecting the call of Anakbayan, let us work towards a people’s uprising to abolish ALL kinds of pork and to advance genuine social change through the national democratic revolution.
Punish the plunderers and the corrupt that benefitted from exploiting the masses composed of the Yellows and their ilk, the large bourgeois-compradors and landlords, the bureaucrat-capitalists; in other words, those whoare at the top of the social triangle. Let’s reverse the triangle upside-down and place those at the bottom of the triangle, the workers and the farmers, on top and lead a new country free from the threeills that currently plague our country. Only then will we have achieved our victory.
- Puno: People’s Initiative apolitical (manilastandardtoday.com)
- Puno calls for people’s initiative to scrap pork (manilastandardtoday.com)
- ‘People’s move vs pork barrel needs P750M’ (manilastandardtoday.com)
- ‘Unmitigated hypocrisy’ (opinion.inquirer.net)
- Progressive groups to mobilize for People’s Initiative against pork (bulatlat.com)
- People’s Congress (1rgcruz.wordpress.com)
- People’s initiative ‘difficult but possible’ – progressive groups (bulatlat.com)
- People power vs pork starts (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- Militant groups support people’s initiative proposal (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- Palace unfazed by people’s initiative against pork barrel (newsinfo.inquirer.net)