‘Arduous task’ ahead for people's bill vs pork barrel

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Monday, August 25, 2014

GATHERING six million signatures needed for a referendum on a bill that will abolish the corruption-tainted pork barrel system is difficult but possible, a militant group said Monday.

"We will face the great challenge of collecting six million signatures to pass the People’s Initiative Bill. It may be an arduous task, but we will succeed," said Youth Act Now convenor Victor Villanueva.

Under Republic Act 6735, the bill must be signed by at least 10 percent of the registered voters in the province or city, of which every legislative district must be represented by at least 3 percent of the registered voters there.

That is why in the coming weeks, the youth arm of the People's Initiative Movement said they will be holding signature drives and information campaigns in various universities, schools, and communities.

"Any ordinary citizen, youth, or student can be a hero by deciding to act at a time of great upheaval. Today, we are not only commemorating our fallen heroes – we are all heroes in our own right, in our own little way," Villanueva said, whose group joined protesters in Luneta, Manila, where dozens of sign-up tables were set up.

Launched in Cebu this weekend, the bill seeks to abolish the presidential and congressional pork barrel, mandate line item budgeting, prohibit and criminalize appropriation and use of lump sum discretionary funds.

It also penalizes violators with six years and one day to 10 years imprisonment and disqualification from holding public office.

Apart from youth groups, socio-civic organizations including Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), government workers and church groups headed by the Catholic Bishops Conference of Philippines (CBCP), also endorsed the bill. (Sunnex)

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