‘People’s Initiative should be given leeway’

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THE campaign to gather six million signatures against the pork barrel system is a form of people power that Malacanang and Congress should not stop, a political analyst said on Tuesday.

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Ramon Casiple said the People’s Initiative campaign that was launched at Manila’s Rizal Park (Luneta) on Monday should not be belittled because this is one of the most important legacies of the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution.

“This is democracy in action. As a form of direct democracy, People’s Initiative is an important part of our people power legacy,” Casiple told The Manila Times.
He said Malacañang and Congress should step aside and let the process move freely.

“It should be given leeway by both the executive and Congress,” Casiple pointed out.

Some 20,000 people gathered at Luneta to seek an end to all forms of pork barrel in the government. Organizers said there will be a series of similar actions in the days to come.

Members of religious, civic, youth and militant groups joined the nationwide campaign that seeks to gather six million signatures to be used for a People’s Initiative against “pork.” So far, some 10,000 signatures have been gathered.

Although the number of rallyists who took part in Monday’s protest rally may have thinned, Malacanang on Tuesday admitted that “voting with their feet” is no longer the only way to express the people’s sentiments.

“There is an expression ‘voting with their feet’ that prompts those who have sufficient knowledge or firm stand [on issues]to be physically present just like what they did last year . . . Or, we can say that there are still other ways to express [sentiments], not only by physically attending [the rally],” Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said.

Coloma added that even President Benigno Aquino 3rd does not consider the low turnout of rallyists on Monday as his “vindication” against critics.

“What is important for the President is the continuation of reforms and change. This cannot be achieved from one incident, or one episode or even one rally,” he said.

“We believe that for the past four years, the reforms we started have already taken root. Many have taken notice of the changes in various fields of our society and that’s the President’s call, [which is]to continue [these changes],” Coloma added.

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