politics’ very much alive in Congress - BMP
November 21, 2018
QUEZON CITY –
Militant labor group Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP)
assailed members of the House of Representatives claiming that “pork
barrel politics is still alive and kicking”. This, after Senator
Ping Lacson disclosed at a press briefing Monday that insertions by
congressmen have stalled the budget hearings.
The group further
disclosed that the practice of pork allocations is more prevalent
this year because of next year’s midterm elections.
The Supreme Court in 2013
ruled that pork barrel is unconstitutional after allegations that
Janet Lim-Napoles and several legislators siphoned public funds to
bogus and ghost non government organizations.
In a statement, Leody de
Guzman, chairperson of the group and senatorial aspirant said, “We
are certain that these congressmen are aware of the 2013 SC ruling
and yet they have continued the anomalous practice of allocating
funds and projects to perpetuate their dynastic rule over their
“Their mandate is to
legislate laws, oversight and deliberation. Budget insertions by
congressmen for their pet projects has the same effect on the entire
fiscal process as with the previous practice of direct and blatant
congressional pork barrel. Both practices strengthens political
patronage, where grave abuse of discretion most likely leads to
graft and corruption,” he adds.
BMP says it is not
surprising that the public perceives Congress as a corrupt
institution, filled with traditional politicians who earn their
living through kickbacks, horse trading, and authoring laws for
legislators are severely detached from the people that they rely
more on sharing their loot of the national coffers to their
constituents. It is a share in the public pie that only increases if
they enjoy the good graces of the Executive branch,” De Guzman
The concrete needs of the
people, the labor leader asserted “towards wholistic and genuine
national development should be the primary basis in the allocation
of government funds, not the selfish motives of politicians who
label completed projects as part of their achievements. Credit
should be accorded to where it is due, to no other than the
taxpaying public who do not owe anything, not even “utang na loob”
to these unscrupulous trapos”.
“Labor reminds our
legislators that the ink on the five-year old Supreme Court ruling
has not dried. The people’s righteous anger against the pork barrel
is still alive and fresh on our collective memory. If they fail to
exercise prudence, this indignation by the voting population will be
reflected in next year’s elections.
De Guzman, meanwhile,
emphasized that the congressional craving for budget allocation to
their districts is goaded by the austerity measures of the budget
department to the much needed social services, which is essential to
providing decent lives to the workers and the poor.
It has been reported that
the several departments will suffer from severe budget cuts. The
DepEd’s proposed Basic Education Facilities Fund for 2019 will lose
P69.4 billion compared to 2018, while DOH’s Health Facilities
Enhancement Program (HFEP) fund was clipped of P30.3 billion under
its cash based budgeting system.
“It is utterly disgraceful
that we have congressmen who fight tooth and nail for every penny of
budget allocation to advance their selfish political motives, while
the public suffers from runaway inflation caused by anti-poor tax
reform packages,” he lashed out.
The BMP says the taxpaying
public have been hit by a triple whammy. “First, the poor are
overtaxed with VAT and excise taxes on petroleum. Second, the budget
cuts to national government agencies providing social services to
the people has led to a shift in fund allocation towards the
discretion of self-serving government officials. Lastly, these
politicians will profess to being pro-poor as they use public funds
to woo the voters into reelecting them into office”.