Break free from pork: political prisoners suggest alternative use of pork

Political prisoners today launched “Break free from pork”, a nationwide protest against the pork barrel system, to join hands with the rest of the Filipino people calling for the abolition of the pork barrel system. 

From Metro Manila, Bicol, Bohol, Cebu, Misamis Oriental, and Bukidnon,  political prisoners’ action ranged from noise barrage, fasting, wearing of armbands with “no to pork barrel” slogan, distribution of leaflets on the pork barrel issue among inmates.  
Detained  peace consultants of the National Democratic Front (NDF) at Camp Crame launched VIP (Victims of Injustice and Plunder) Prisoners' Protest PORKsong Revival Fest and PORKsters vs. Corruption contest as a venue of creativity of political prisoners to express their hopes and aspirations for freedom from detention and, for freedom of the Filipino people from exploitation and oppression. 

They also called for the prosecution of the plunderers, and not of the innocent civilians and rights defenders. The protest action also highlighted the situation of the 449 detainees all-over the country and the call to release all political prisoners.  

Alternative use of pork

Believing that the presidential and congressional pork comes from the poor people’s labor, the political detainees at the New Bilibid Prison-Maximum Security Compound outlined alternative uses of pork, for the benefit of the common tao and for the development of the country. 

According to the political detainees, the pork, instead of ending up in the pockets of government bureaucrats and their cohorts, could be used to:

1. Improve agricultural productivity, alleviate farmers’ situation, and provide for cheap food supply for all. 
2. Increase the salaries and benefits of government employees, especially the health workers, public school
teachers, and other rank-and-file members of the government bureaucracy.  
3. Provide decent, safe and free housing for the urban poor settlers. 
4. Provide free and quality education for the Filipino youth. 
5. Strengthen support mechanisms that guarantee the protection and welfare of overseas Filipino workers. 
6. Provide for sufficient, efficient and affordable health services.
7. Provide the poor with cheap and clean sources of water and electricity. 
8. Improve the justice system, specifically to speed up trials and processing of court cases, and increase salaries
and benefits of court rank & file employees. 
9. Improve the condition of jails and detention facilities, especially the living quarters, food ration, and medical
services, and increase the salaries and benefits of jail employees; 
10. Implement rehabilitation programs and projects for prisoners.  ###