• Artists to take part in protest rally against pork barrel

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    Artists’ groups on Sunday joined the growing call to scrap the pork barrel system, in particular the P1.3-trillion discretionary fund of President Benigno Aquino 3rd.
    A day before the “Million People March” to Rizal Park, Kabataang Artista para sa
    Tunay na Kalayaan (Karatula) and Concerned Artists of the Philippines
    (CAP) said in a press conference at the University of the Philippines in Diliman the President’s pronouncement of abolishing the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) does not change anything in the pork barrel system.
    The group said with Aquino’s proposed changes in the allocation and release of pork barrel, the system will stay and it will merely change its name.
    “Patronage politics will just stay in our political system and corruption will stay in the government,” said Jay del Rosario, Karatula Karatula vice chairman.
    The pork barrel “just legalizes plunder in the government,” he added.
    The group released a manifesto named “Artists Unite against Pork Barrel” calling for the complete abolition of the “porkiest” P1.3-trillion discretionary funds of the President and its rechanneling to basic social services like health, education and transportation.
    “If they will allocate this [budget]to basic social services, then we will not need the pork barrel,” said CAP spokesperson Renan Ortiz.
    The manifesto was signed by over a hundred artists from different fields, among them National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera; 13 Artists Awardees Winner Jumalon, Mark Salvatus, and Leeroy New; Fliptop’s BLKD; former Artistic Director of Cultural Center of the Philippines; Tanghalang Pilipino Dennis Marasigan; and activist punk band Datu’s Tribe.
    JHOANNA BALLARAN

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