Evangelicals Call for Pork Barrel Abolition

President Aquino receives a Bible from Bishop Efraim Tendero of PCEC.
Image source: http://balita.ph/

August 31,2013

Dear Mr. President:

We, at the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC), affirm your leadership as our president. We love you. We pray for you. This is what the Bible has taught us.

A PRAYER FOR "MATUWID NA DAAN". We believe in your "Matuwid na Daan" as you have outlined in your inaugural speech and as it was demonstrated through many of your actions and decisions in the first half of your term. We praise God for those reforms. We thank God for what you have done so far. We continue to pray for more victories towards your vision.

In that same inaugural speech, you said: "The first step is to have leaders who are ethical, honest, and true public servants. I will set the example. I will strive to be a good model. I will not break the trust you have placed in me. I will ensure that this, too, will be the advocacy of my Cabinet and those who will join our government." We rejoiced over these declarations and hoped they will guide us into the era of ethical governance. It has been these declarations that embolden us, the Evangelical community, to express the following appeals:

AN APPEAL TO ABOLISH THE PORK BARREL SYSTEM. We appeal to our President to take the lead in abolishing the lump sum appropriation of more than P25 billion former PDAF or any semblance of pork barrel in our national budget. We also appeal to our senators and the congress representatives to focus on their intended job—which is to create laws. Hence, 

• we appeal to His Excellency for the abolition of P200 million annual allocation for each senator;
• we appeal to His Excellency for the abolition of the P70 million annual allocation for each congress representative that are supposedly used for various projects, but have been abused; and,
• we appeal to His Excellency for the ‘special purpose funds’ (SPF) of nearly P450 billion be abolished as well.
These pork barrel funds are better allocated under the “regular” budget for different government agencies. In this way, Congress would be able to scrutinize how the agencies are spending the taxpayers’ money. This would enhance the check-and-balance relationship between the Legislative and the Executive.

An aerial shot taken by Paolo Alcazaren from a drone shows the crowd at the anti-pork barrel protest at the Luneta Park in Manila on Monday. Thousands of people from various sectors joined the protest. Photo: Paolo Alcazaren/Facebook.

AN APPEAL TO LEAD US IN DISMANTLING PATRONAGE POLITICS. We appeal to our President to lead in the abolition of an unjust system of patronage politics. We strongly say,"Enough with a few families controlling not just the politics but the very soul of towns, cities, provinces and to some degree our country!" Thus, we encourage our President --

• to lead our nation by exploring all legal and legislative processes towards this political transformation;
• to lead us to stop the use of pork barrel funds to finance and sustain this patronage political system and the political dynasties that perpetuates corruption;
• to lead us in eliminating and preventing collusion between members of the Executive and the Legislative, which destroys the check-and-balance relationship between these two branches of the government; and,
• to lead us to be vigilant as our nation prepares for the 2016 general elections -- to be vigilant against electoral sabotage and vote-buying that perpetuates patronage politics.

Lawmakers linked to PDAF scam. Image source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

AN APPEAL TO LEAD IN THE PASSING OF THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION BILL. Finally, we appeal to our dear President to lead in passing the Freedom of Information Bill and to certify to the necessity of its immediate enactment. As you have stated, dear Mr. President, "We will strengthen the process of consultation and feedback. We will strive to uphold the constitutional right of citizens to information on matters of public concern."

We are convinced that this bill is crucial in our fight against corruption because --
• The Freedom of Information Act would help end the culture of government secrecy and corruption and will start a culture of transparency and righteousness.
• The Freedom of Information Act will prevent the government from hiding crucial information from the public.
• The Freedom of Information Act will be a highly effective tool in exposing corruption and allowing us to campaign to prevent abuses of power. 
• The Freedom of Information Act will also facilitate informed participation by the public in government decision-making, and more efficient access to government services.

Image source: Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism

We pray to God that the heart and mind of our dear President will be so open to listen to the People—whom he voluntarily addressed as his 'boss'. This is our collective will. This is what we believe is the direction of change we need to do as one people—a systemic change that roots out the causes of corruption.

Our dear President, we encourage you to lead us, your people, in this journey towards a radical, national transformation. May God richly bless you as this radical transformation becomes your legacy in the history of our land and our people.

The PCEC leadership praying for President Noynoy Aquino.
Image source: http://balita.ph/

Sincerely yours in Christ,

The Board of Trustees
Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches

(please contact: Bishop Efraim M. Tendero, PCEC National Director, info@pceconline.org. or telephone 9131655-57)


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