‘People’s move vs pork barrel needs P750M’

Passing legislation that will outlaw the Aquino administration’s pork barrel system will cost P750 million, according to the Empowered People’s Initiative and Reform Movement Alliance (ePIRMA) which held its people’s congress to find solutions and reforms against corruption in the country.

ePIRMA convenor Manny Lopez said they need that amount to push the legislation necessary to reform the public finance system via the people’s initiative system that is provided in Republic Act No. 6735, or the Initiative and Referendum Act.

“This is to effect real change in the country. We have to institutionalize reforms para kahit sinong pumasok sa gobyerno or any leadership will conform to certain standards that protects and advances public interest,” Lopez, a businessman, said at a news forum in Quezon City on Saturday.

Asked how ePIRMA will fund the initiative, Lopez said they are looking at a “piso-piso” campaign where supporters will be asked to donate even P1 to the cause.

“It will not be a walk in the park, but if we want change in this country, we will have to do it,” Lopez said. “It is not impossible. It is challenging. It is difficult, but it could happen with the rage of people now regarding corruption. This is the chance, this is the tipping point that we could pursue to improve the quality of governance.”

Lopez said they will seek the assistance of former Chief Justice Renato Puno who called for a people’s initiative. “Definitely we will reach out to different groups including ex-CJ Puno and all other groups that seek change in this country,” he said.

Puno last week said his group of advocates are already working on a draft law that will stop the alleged misuse and abuse of government funds, such as the Priority Development Assistance Fund and the President’s Disbursement Acceleration Program and it may be ready by January.

Puno wants to specifically prohibit “off budget items,” such as the Presidential Social Fund, and require the government to consider programs suggested by barangays or local government units.

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