Makati Business Club, Coalition Against Corruption unified call to Abolish Pork Barrel, Pass FOI, 1M Protest August 26

Abolish the pork barrel system. Pass the (Freedom of Information) FOI bill.

This is what businessmen, church leaders and members of civil society say the government should do to address the scandal involving the alleged misuse of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel by senators and representatives.

The Makati Business Club (MBC) and the Coalition Against Corruption (CAC) on Sunday, August 18, condemned the "systemic diversion" of the pork barrel for "private aggrandizement" into "phantom organizations."

"Thus it is most unfortunate that amidst the earnest efforts of the government to bolster the national coffers through increased tax compliance, the people's money has been allegedly misused by conniving individuals, both inside and outside of government," the groups said in a statement.

The Commission on Audit's latest report on the PDAF found at least 6.156 billion worth of pork barrel was misused and released to dubious non-government organizations.

"The current scandal shows just how vulnerable the PDAF is to manipulation and corruption, and exposes the utter lack of accountability among its many proponents. As such, we strongly support initiatives seeking to do away with the PDAF," the groups said.

MBC and CAC challenged lawmakers to pass the FOI bill, which seeks to install fast procedures on accessing documents of high public interest, to stop future misuse of public funds.

"We believe that this landmark legislation, coupled with ongoing efforts at promoting good governance, will be an effective deterrent to abuses perpetrated by the corrupt," they said.

The statement was signed by the Bishops-Businessmen's Conference for Human Development, Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines - National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice, and Peace, Citizens' Congress for Good Governance, Makati Business Club and the Transparency and Accountability Network.

One Million People March Protest August 26

Anti-pork barrel advocates are set to gather at the Luneta Park on August 26, National Heroes' Day, and are using social media to rally participants to their cause.

"What we need is a MILLION PEOPLE MARCH by struggling Filipino taxpayers- a day of protest by the silent majority that would demand all politicians and govt. officials (whatever the political stripes, color they may carry) to stop pocketing our taxes borne out from our hard work by means of these pork barrel scams and other creative criminal acts."

How to participate?

The event is set to begin at 9AM. Those attending are asked to meet at the KM 0 marker adjacent to the Rizal Monument and are encouraged to wear white.

On social media, supporters are also encouraged to tweet to @ProtestaNgBayan and post a status message on Facebook that includes the statement:

"I am *name* Pinoy ako. I pay my taxes, on-time and full. You, my government, owe me a full explanation."

The hashtags #OnePinoy #MillionPeopleMarch and #ProtestaNgBayan are also being used.

Online campaigns sprout

Though the One Million People March against Pork Barrel may be the first protest rally organized entirely through social media, online campaigns are nothing new in the Philippines.

People Power 2 and 3 were largely fueled by people sending text messages within their social networks, calling on others to rally.

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