OFWs to Congress: Scrap Aquino’s P1 trillion pork

Global alliance of overseas Filipinos Migrante International today called on Congress to scrap President Benigno Aquino III’s P1 trillion pork barrel, while calling on the legislative body to conduct an investigation on the controversial pork barrel scam.

Amid calls to scrap the pork barrel, all funds under the discretion of any public official, including those allotted to the President, should be subject to investigation and thorough scrutiny. “The Office of the President and the Executive, like any other agency tasked to defend its proposed budget for every fiscal year, should explain where and how these funds have been and will be used,” said Garry Martinez, Migrante International chairperson.

“Pending investigation, Aquino’s P1 trillion pork in the form of lump sum and unprogrammed funds should be scrapped in the proposed 2014 national budget, or else put to better use through the re-channeling to social services, including direct services and welfare assistance to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs),” Martinez said.

Martinez said that the President’s P1 trillion share in the P2.6-trillion proposed budget for 2014 is a “fiscal crime against the people”, considering the continuous decline in the quality of social services under Aquino’s term.

“This is especially more scandalous for OFWs who have been getting a share of less than one percent of aggregate funds in the national budget since 2010. Each OFW only gets roughly P260 per capita spending per fiscal year. This is the kind of thanks we get from the government after bringing in $21 billion in OFW remittances. Do the math and get the sum of injustice against the migrant sector,” he said.

He added, “Since 2010, the Aquino government has slashed funds for direct OFW services, passed on the burden to OFWs through various fees and collections, and continue to deprive OFWs of those very funds that came from their hard work and sacrifice. Needless to say, OFWs have a stake on how public funds should be used and allocated and are united in calling for the scrapping of Aquino’s P1-trillion pork.”

Martinez slammed Aquino for defending the pork barrel system and the endemic practice of patronage politics while mouthing his “daang matuwid” rhetoric. “Aquino’s P1-trillion pork is precisely the reason why he refuses to scrap the pork barrel system. He is the biggest benefactor from it.” ###

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