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Freeman Region

Negros OCC officials: Signature drive vs pork“a right but unnecessary”

Marchel P. Espina - The Freeman

BACOLOD CITY, Philippines — Negrense officials said they respect the signature campaign for a People’s Initiative to abolish the pork barrel system, but the move is unnecessary.

Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. said the campaign is unnecessary as it is “implausible,” believing that the People’s Initiative is unlikely to reach 10 percent of the country’s voting population by December.

Marañon downgraded the campaign for being initiated by progressive groups that would always criticize the government regardless of who the elected president is.

The governor also said the three impeachment complaints lodged against President Benigno Aquino III would not prosper even after the House committee on justice ruled that these were sufficient in form to be carried out. “Put five lawyers in one room and five of them will have difference in opinion,” he said.

Negros Occidental Vice Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson said he respects the move but he is not supporting it. “I respect their initiative, but I will not take part of it,” he said, because the priority development assistance fund, also known as pork, is no longer in the budget of both the Senate and Congress.

“But that they (legislators) can still recommend possible projects that should benefit their constituents,” said the vice governor.

Bacolod lone district Representative Bing Leonardia said: “It is the right of everyone to express his sentiment but this signature campaign is not that necessary anymore because the kind of budgeting that triggered the original protests is no longer there.”

The congressman admitted that several “lawmakers in the past have misused the PDAF.” He however said that “with the level of consciousness and vigilance of the public now, we can say that the people’s money is much safer now.”

Leonardia said that, for good governance, “we should still have a certain degree of flexibility to make our budgeting system relevant and responsive to the various needs and demands of the times.”

Negros Occidental 4th district Representative Jeffrey Ferrer, for his part, said, “there’s no pork barrel anymore.”

The Church, however, remained supportive of the campaign against pork. The Diocese of San Carlos City, led by Bishop Gerardo Alminaza, in a statement said: “The clergy in the diocese agreed ... to join the historic campaign to pass a law (that would abolish) the pork barrel system through a People’s Initiative, because this system has become a source of corruption and of political patronage.”

Last Monday, hundreds of people in this city took part in the signature campaign, as they supported the call to abolish the pork.

Christian Tuayon, secretary-general of Bayan-Negros, said he was optimistic that the initiative will reach 10 percent of the nationwide voting population by December, as similar campaigns will be conducted in the other towns and cities in Negros Occidental.

Under Republic Act 6735, or the People’s Initiative Law, at least 10 percent of the total number of registered voters and three percent of each legislative district must sign the petition to enact a law without going through Congress. (FREEMAN)

 

 

BISHOP GERARDO ALMINAZA

CAMPAIGN

CHRISTIAN TUAYON

DIOCESE OF SAN CARLOS CITY

INITIATIVE LAW

LAST MONDAY

NEGROS OCCIDENTAL

NEGROS OCCIDENTAL GOVERNOR ALFREDO MARA

NEGROS OCCIDENTAL VICE GOVERNOR EUGENIO JOSE LACSON

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