The September 11 EDSA Shrine Scrap Pork Prayer Vigil

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The upcoming September 11 EDSA Shrine prayer vigil against pork barrel funding seems to be getting a lot of flak  for supposedly being covertly orchestrated by the Aquino Administration to serve some hidden agenda.

A couple of people in various threads on Facebook are telling people not to participate in the September 11 EDSA Shrine prayer vigil and not to allow themselves to be unwittingly used by the Aquino Administration in an attempt to control a movement to scrap all forms of pork barrel funding.

In addition to this, the same people are saying that the September 11 prayer vigil would be disruptive, being held at the EDSA Shrine in the middle of the week on a regular working day.

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The last sentiment echos a part of what Peachy Rallonza-Bretaña said when she stated her position on the September 11 anti-pork barrel gathering:

Just to clarify, the EDSA call is NOT from me and not the same as the #MillionPeopleMarch. #ScrapPork has nothing to do with Marcos’ bday or martial law.

And besides, anything on EDSA is too disruptive to our economy and the daily lives of the ordinary taxpayer like us who eke out a living. We want to make an impact yes, but an impact that works within the system and doesn’t throw us back to the bottom of the pit again. Thus the #100days to Justice. I am quite sure there will be those who will get angry at me for saying this but I just want people to be more aware of whatever they’re getting into.

What seems to be a justification for the skepticism and/or cynicism towards the September 11 EDSA Shrine prayer vigil against pork is the accusation that one of its organizers has some manner of association or link to President Aquino.

junep ocampoJunep Ocampo, who briefly became the head of the media bureau of the 2003/2004 Senatorial campaign of Richard “Dick” Gordon and became my boss, is one of the organizers of the September 11 EDSA Shrine prayer vigil.  I am not at all aware of the extent of his links to President Aquino or the Liberal Party, but it seems he has explained the circumstances surrounding a picture of him with the President.  In a Facebook status update, Junep said “I got the chance to cover the China state visit of PNoy as well as the APEC summit. Both of my trips were paid for by the newspaper I work for in Iloilo City. “

Perhaps what is causing people to be skeptical about the August 26 and upcoming September 11 anti-pork gathering is the participation of “communications consultants” a. k. a. “PR people” in its organization.  The fact that Junep is a communications consultant with his own company and that Peachy Bretana is the Creative Director/Public Relations and Communications of Publicis Worldwide appears to be jarring to people with notions that “authentic” widespread protest movements shouldn’t need PR people promoting it.

Of course, there is also the insinuation is that PR people pulling off the staging of a massive gathering could use this as a “case study” or “proof of effectiveness”.  Of course, it would be difficult if not impossible to judge what is inside people’s heart of hearts and thereby conclusively classify their participation as organizers as either professional or personal.  Then again, there’s really nothing wrong with being passionate about one’s profession.

Anyway, the other people figuring as organizers of the September 11 EDSA Shrine prayer vigil are:

  • Noel Wahe and Rodel Bañares, graphic designers
  • Ben Bañares at Katrina Stuart Santiago, writers
  • Ian Pedarse at Jay Jalbuna, photographers
  • Cel Ocampo, teacher
  • Jim Libiran, film director
bobby capco jim libiran2

Jim Libiran with former Usec. Bobby Capco

Of the others mentioned as organizers, Jim probably is the more recognizable — having been at the fore of the “flash mob” protesting the cutting or balling of pine trees in Baguio City and another movement to “Save the Manila Bay Sunset” from reclamation.  Both protest actions seemed organized and staged, complete with “hakot” crowds composed of ‘urban poor’ and students.

Although the August 26 and September 11 gatherings feature different personalities, both have a message in common and those are the calls to support President Aquino’s campaign against corruption.

Junep states his reason for participating in the September 11 gathering: “I have high hopes for this country. Isa ako sa mga sinasabi ni PNoy na nagsabi sa aking sarili na puwede na uling mangarap nang manalo siya sa eleksyon. Patuloy akong nangangarap. Patuloy akong umaasa na gagawin ni PNoy ang tama — ang ia-abolish ang lahat ng uri ng pork barrel simula sa level niya. Dala ko ang pag-asa na yun sa pagtungo ko sa EDSA Shrine sa Sept. 11 para magdasal. “

(Translation: “I am one of those people that Pnoy referred to when he said that we can hope again when he won the election.  I continue to hope.  I continue to hope that Pnoy will do the right thing — which is to abolish all forms of pork barrel funding starting with his own. I will bring this hope with me when I go to EDSA Shrine on September 11 to pray.”)

PNOY PDAF APPROPRIATIONSIn any case, I think if there is anything at all that President Aquino wants to head off or manage is the tendency for the widespread public outcry against pork to turn into a call for his resignation or ouster.  After all, if the pork barrel system is patently corrupt, the person responsible for almost doubling this form of corruption is President Aquino himself.

Peachy’s sentiment that protests against pork barrel funding that won’t disrupt peoples workaday worlds looks kind of sheepish and funny in the face of a statement from Budget Secretary Butch Abad that says that pork barrel funding would stay in the  2014 budget.

The whole point of the protest is precisely to DISRUPT the entire network of corruption that feeds off pork barrel funding.  This demands nothing less than the resignation and prosecution of all legislators and line department officials who stole from the pork barrel funds.

finoy fanot

The thing that will keep people from finding themselves being led and played in any kind of propaganda is to have a definite idea of what the issues are as well as what it really means to scrap the pork barrel.

The fact that President Noynoy Aquino was PORK tongued when he announced he was moving to abolish the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) doesn’t really lend much credence to a previous statement signifying his unity with the people on the pork barrel issue.  Either that or the President has a poor understanding of where the problem of pork barrel funding really lies.

His abolish pork statement two days before the August 26 Luneta gathering was a bit schizophrenic in the sense that while he said his administration would abolish PDAF, he also said that lawmakers would be able to propose to his administration the funding for projects and programs in their districts.

Of course, this didn’t escape BenignO’s attention and compelled him to underscore what is really wrong with the PDAF:

The Executive branch executes. The Legislative branch legislates.

Why do legislators feel entitled to pocket money that allows them to play Santa Claus before the gawking star-struck eyes of their “constituents”? Perhaps they need their Santa Claus suit because legislative work is simply too abstract for an electorate too fixated on heroes, bread, and circuses to grasp. Without a chance to play administrative Santa Claus, legislators’ otherwise important role to play in modern democratic governance simply does not resonate with the Filipino voting public.

The President’s modification of the PDAF, which I assume will be to line budget rather than allocating lumpsums for discretionary spending, doesn’t do away with other pork barrel evils such as supporting patronage/transactional politics and wasteful government spending.

BenignO states this point rather powerfully:

Just because a billion bucks was spent does not mean a billion bucks worth of value was delivered. You can’t get a strategic outcome unless there is a sound strategy around the way you spend money. Allowing a billion pesos to be spent in a “discretionary” manner is NOT a strategy.

Considering this and all that has been said here on GRP, there really is no room for a compromise.

Mr. President, scrap pork barrel funding now and THEN let’s talk about being allies.

27 Replies to “The September 11 EDSA Shrine Scrap Pork Prayer Vigil”

  1. Aquino is anything but Schizophrenic, he knows Exactly what he is doing. To think he doesn’t, is to under-estimate and that is always a mistake.
    The paragraph “The whole point…is to prosecute those who stole…” is going to take a lot more than prayers to accomplish. and if all you’ve got is prayers, well, OH WELL!
    The final paragraph “Mr. President scrap the pork….Then lets talk about being allies.”.
    Are you here at GRP really that important? Seriously, as I do not know. From what appears in these essays/comments it seems that there exists no speaking terms.

    1. Well said, Bjorn. The list of issues in Philippines is long. Solving those issues may begin with abolishing PDAF, but it is just a beginning.
      Assume we give P’Noy benefit of the doubt, and take his statements at face value. We can assume a temporary alliance.
      “The Enemy of my enemy is my friend” never a long term relationship, but a good tactical tool we can use to achieve some highly visible prosecution of Politicians, and use that momentum to carry us to the next level of reform, ending Political Dynasties”.
      The Pork Barrel has been used by the Political Families to buy votes and leverage patronage, so abolishing PDAF sets the stage for the next phase of reform. Agreed?

    2. Is really possible to UNDERestimate Abnoy? Really now? He manages to underperform in every aspect of governing this country and you think people UNDERestimate him?

      He can’t prosecute those who stole? He sure was hellbent on ousting Corona when he showed defiance re: Abnoy’s Hacienda, using all the resources of the government by hook and by crook and now it’s so impossible to prosecute the real criminals in government?

      Lacierda Carandang lameness all over your post.

      1. Yo Hose “A”,
        Who runs the country?(Oligarchs, Aquino is one) Who is not resigning?(Aquino) Who is not going to jail?(the entire den of thieves, whose leader is?) Who is going to make sure that NO ONE goes to jail?(Aquino and the other politicians, judges) Who is making sure no one gets prosecuted?(same answer)
        You call me lame? You might be the biggest idiot in the entire country! You do not even understand why he under-performs, do you? I LMAO at YOU!

      1. Look Farol, READ IT AGAIN, it was a question!A SERIOUS QUESTION, SEE IT THERE? Are all you Flips so God dam sensitive? Every single one I have ever met takes everything as an insult, so again: It was a question, OK? and while I am at it, if you are so important, How do you know this? are the people in the halls of power seeking your counsel? AGAIN, it is a serious question, comprende?

        1. I was not being sensitive and I was seriously asking you a question. Perhaps the voice inside your head gave what I wrote a different tone and that’s why it’s good to ask for clarification. Perhaps I should have phrased it differently: Do you think GRP is important? If it isn’t, then why bother to comment here?

    3. Bjorn,

      I didn’t see the second question, perhaps it didn’t have a question mark.

      Perhaps you meant that you raised two issues and not questions, because clearly, there is only one question. Which is “Are you here at GRP really that important?”

      Saying “Mr. President scrap the pork…” is in the same vein as being told “you’re my boss (Kayo ang boss ko)”.

      The second point in your comment implies that I think it will take just prayers to get the President to scrap pork as well as to prosecute those who stole government funds. Of course, I don’t think just prayers will do it, people massing on the streets — though dated and anachronistic — may still be an effective way of putting a message across and pressuring the government to act on a demand. Though I wouldn’t go for the hip way of calling for an “Occupy (put name of place here)”.

      Third, if you carefully read the sentence “His abolish pork statement two days before the August 26 Luneta gathering was a bit schizophrenic” you would probably have understood that “schizophrenic” referred to “abolish pork statement” and no to the president. There is no attempt at judging his state of mind or his ability as an individual, just his statement which seem disjointed and misleading just like a disintegrative personality disorder. On one hand he says he will abolish pork barrel spending, a facet of which is allowing legislators control over the budget and which is retained in his proposal to allow legislators to propose items in the budget. The only difference is that instead of getting a lumpsum appropriation, congressmen and senators will have to line budget their pork (specifying each and every project they want to fund).

  2. All anti pork rallies should now be held in front of the senate and congress, or even malacanang. This is to send the message straight to the senators, congressmen, and the president that we, the people, mean business.

    1. @ Orlando, one million people knocking on the Palace doors, asking the guy to ‘step outside’, or your gonna come inside and drag him out.
      Yes,Sounds like a better idea than a picnic in a park.

      1. agree, but wont happen
        Plan A. picnic in the park
        Plan B. wail to god day
        Suggestions for plan C?
        Line dancing in Mall of Asia?
        National cupcake making day

        How about this
        GET F******ng Angry
        Get up close and personal

  3. peachy’s sentiment regarding protests that won’t disrupt people’s lives maybe sheepish, but is definitely not insensitive to the ordinary taxpayer who has to traverse edsa to and from work. for that, it is the rally that the taxpayers can more identify with and not the rally that will probably cause traffic and double the commute hours. also, the participation in the august 26 and september 11 rallies will have one very crucial difference. participants of the former are taxpayers who go to work everyday and spared that one holiday to be one among thousands in luneta. participants to the latter however, are more likely to be “hakot” who arguably have nothing else more productive to do.

    1. Whether you admit it or not, you the taxpayer are being inconvenienced… by poorly maintained roads and unfinished infrastructure projects… by the fact that the MRT lacks coaches and badly needs an upgrade… by the fact that our public school system is awful.. that healthcare is a joke… that the police are more prone to committing crimes than preventing them… that we don’t have the capability to defend ourselves from foreign intrusion…

      While, on the other hand, your congressman rides to work in an SUV guided through the traffic by police… the bureaucrat and government staff that processed papers to release PDAF funds can afford to take a US tour or vacay abroad…

      Yes, do tell me how inconvenient it will be for you on September 11.

  4. The dictator BS Aquino appears to be very much into divide and rule, or divide and conquer. Remember that he did this in Cebu and the rally fizzled out. The dictator BS Aquino and his propaganda script tries to make it appear that we the highly offended and outraged sovereign people are his allies(hahahaha!) and that he is a crusader against graft and corruption(LOL!). Does not this remind you of the propaganda techniques of Der Fuhrer? The repeat the great lie technique will appear as the truth right? BS cannot fool all of the people all of the time! Let us go back to the Luneta freedom park and other freedom parks in the provinces and in foreign venues. A bigger crowd ought to scare the dictator into reacting. Why should we go to a congested EDSA shrine? This is a known shrine of the yellows! Beware of yellow infiltration like what happened in Cebu! We should police our ranks and disallow entry by yellow followers of the yellow dictator! Tapos na ang Matuwid na Daan! Ang Baliw na Daan tungo sa Baliw na Kapangyarihan at Baliw sa Kayamanan ng Kaban ng Bayan ang siyang nananaig! Di Palulupig! Di Pasisiil!

    1. @ T.J., You compare Aquino, a mutli-millionaire to DER-FUHRER? Hitler was a Corporal in Kaiser Wilhelm’s WW1 Army. Aquino is a Multi-million-aire legacy. The two have zero in common.
      So stop comparing the idiot that leads you country to Hitler as they could not be more dissimilar.

      Hitler proclaimed the Arayan race would rule the world in the Fourth Reich. Aquino is proposing that Filipino’s are going to lead the world, is he?
      The comparison is extremely laughable, you sound near illiterate.

      1. @Bjorn

        You like to use ad hominem to insult people by calling them illiterate. We were fighting BS Aquino from day one. Mr. Aquino’s propaganda style is similar to the Adolf Hitler style of propaganda and that is… repeat the great lie every so often and it appears the truth. Admit it! you are ignorant of the happenings in the Philippines. The yellows (not a race mind you) love their yellow dictator and you should too! Duh, are you a yellow troll?

  5. Abolishing pork barrel, no question, is the unanimous consensus that we all hear and agree right now. Finally, getting rid of a system which institutionalize corruption and hobbled the country for so long will finally disappear from the face of the earth. Noticeably, however, there seems to be an apparent scant of option or alternative as to what system or process is best to deliver effective, sufficient and transparent prgram of services to the people in place of the discredited scheme.

    I hope the leaders in the planned Sept. 11 march, aside from protests and vituperative statements decrying corruption would begin to advance and introduce in their speeches new ideas and process as to how people in govt can best utilize and dispense with resources aimed at public service.

  6. Bakit nga ba mahirap para sa administrasyon na ito na tanggalin na ang pork barrel o pdaf? Mavbe because yung mga nakikinabang dyan na mga pulitiko ay karamihang nagpanalo din kay PNOY? So it is pay back time lang yan ni PNOY! Yes the intention of PDAF is good originally but obviuosly mas nagagamit na ito ngayon sa mas mataas na porsyento ng corruption! So why PNOY is afraid of scrapping this? Ang linis nya kung magsalita parang ‘di nya talaga alam ang kalakalan ng pork barrel! Lumalabas ngayon, gimamit din nya ito to be in his position now! ANG TUWID NG DAAN MO! Kung ‘di totoo ito, then prove to us your BOSS na inosente ka nga by removing pork barrel or pdaf once and for all! Wala na munang hocus focus! Then prosecute not only those guilty but also those who made used of it! Including you!

  7. The President doesn’t actually believe in “daang matuwid.” He knows that you don’t just get rid of corruption just like that. Instead, he believes in strengthening his legitimacy and political power by rallying people against the previous Judicial head and putting in place his affiliate, thus making him in control of two of the three branches. In order to control the other branch, the legislative, he needed and has used an enhanced PDAF as leverage. He doesn’t believe in political reform, he believes in nation-wide socialist policies.

    1. Yes he doesn’t believe in Daang Matuwid . All that matters Is that his legion of followers blindy believe it despite abundant proof that it doesn’t exist . Tangible proof.

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