Thursday, September 15, 2011
MANILA, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Sept. 15, 2011) – A union of Philippine government employees has criticized President Benigno Aquino’s proposed P101.5 billion “pork barrel” for 2012, saying it was unconscionable considering the deplorable poverty experienced by government employees and the people.
Pork barrel refers to appropriation of government spending for various projects.
The Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees said the amount was tagged in the proposed budget as the “miscellaneous personnel benefits fund” culled from savings due to the large number of unfilled positions in all branches of government.
The fund, it said, would most likely serve as the President’s own pork barrel.
“As of 2010, the total number of casual, contractual and coterminous public sector employees has swelled to 139, 052. Instead of using this amount as the President’s pork barrel, why not harness it to provide security of tenure to all these employees by regularizing them or by hiring new employees on a regular basis?”
“We are enraged over such a large amount appropriated solely for Aquino’s pork barrel, while the rank-and-file employees continue to survive in abject conditions amidst the soaring prices of basic commodities,” said Ferdinand Gaite, the group’s national president
“We challenge the Aquino administration to allocate the miscellaneous personnel benefits fund towards providing immediate economic relief for the country’s 1.3 million government workers. We stand firm by our call for a substantial wage increase, particularly a P6, 000 increase to the minimum pay of all government employees,” he added.