“We are disgusted that the government is quick to take away our hard-earned income and is just as quick in funnelling our income to support the lavish lifestyles of politicians.”
By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANILA – Makati employees took the opportunity to participate in the rally and voice out their grievances against the alleged misuse of pork barrel funds during the Million People March held in business district Makati on Friday, Oct. 4.
Bank employees Myeve, 30 and Lian Rose, 26, both working in Makati, said it’s about time for President Benigno S. Aquino III to abolish the pork barrel system. “By attending this rally, we show in our own little way that we support the majority’s call to abolish the pork barrel system,” Myeve said.
“It is enraging that only a few are benefiting from the funds when the people should be the one who should benefit from it,” said Lian Rose.
“It is much better if the government re-channels the funds directly to social services. That way we know where our taxes go,” Myeve said. She said every month there is a 12-percent automatic deduction from her salary that goes to the tax. “And it matters to us because we worked for it. Government officials should not use it for their personal interests,” she added.
Sharon Dayo, 25, a minimum wage earner, said she supports the call to abolish the pork barrel system because the funds that were misused are meant for the welfare of the people. She said President Benigno S. Aquino III should take action and imprison those who would be found guilty of plunder. In that way, she said, the President will prove that he has nothing to do with the corruption and that he is sincere in combating it.
“What they’re doing is not right, that’s why I’m here,” said bank employee Felix, 45. Single employees are levied a bigger withholding tax compared to those who are married. That is why for Felix the pork barrel system should be abolished.
Nick, 36, an office messenger, said as citizens they have the right to know where the funds go. He joined the rally with his wife Ningning 33. The couple has two children. “We demand to know where the money has gone and we will fight for it because it is meant to be spent for the people.”
An employee of 15 years in Makati who does not want to be named hopes that the President will settle the scandal that the government is in to. “I still believe that he has done nothing wrong and with the help of his Cabinet he can fix this mess in the government. If he really doesn’t have a hand in this and that he is really leading the nation to the righteous path, he should right away do something about this scandal.”
She believes that the pork barrel and the rest of discretionary funds should be scrapped. “We pay a huge amount of tax especially when we have overtime. We have the right to know where the government spends it. And spending it on social services would be better because at least we know where our taxes go.”
Meanwhile, the BPO Industry Employees Network (BIEN) called for a three-month tax holiday as protest against the pork barrel system.
“Every pay day, the government imposes a 15 to 25 percent painful cut in the hard-earned salary of employees and workers. The collected taxes are supposed to provide for social services, including education. The funds should be used by the government for the upliftment of the conditions of the Filipino people. However it has not been so. We will not sit back amidst this evident corruption and plunder of the people’s money,” said Raymond Palatino of the #ScrapThePork Alliance.
Call center agents who are members of BIEN also expressed their disgust over the pork barrel system. Ian Porquia, president of BIEN said they are dismayed to find out that a huge chunk of tax revenues only goes into the pockets of big bureaucrats. “We are disgusted that the government is quick to take away our hard-earned income and is just as quick in funnelling our income to support the lavish lifestyles of politicians.”
“We go through sleepless nights, endure dangers in going to work in the wee hours of the morning, and sacrifice time with our family for our work. We deserve to receive our salary in full instead of adding more money to the funds that politicians can plunder.”
“Day by day, the corrupt nature of the pork barrel system unfolds before our eyes. It is high time for the Aquino government to stop clinging to the pork barrel system. This scheme for robbing us of our money will not be improved by reforms,” said Palatino.