Text by Ardelle Costuna
Photos by Thomas Benjamin Roca, UP Aperture
Faculty members from various colleges in UP Diliman wore the sablay Friday to call for the abolition of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), also known as the pork barrel.
The call was made amidst what came to be known as the Pork Barrel Scandal involving members of the Congress. Twenty-eight senators and representatives were reportedly found to be giving their pork barrel funds to bogus non-government organizations.
In a press conference held in Vinzons Hall, the professors said they chose to wear the sablay because the pork barrel system is “sablay” (a failure). Instead of promoting “honor and excellence,” the pork barrel ends up promoting “dishonor and mediocrity,” they said.
The sablay, a maroon and green sash with the letters ‘U’ and ‘P’ written in baybayin, is the official academic costume of the UP system worn during commencement exercises.[imagebrowser id=89]
The public funds must be used for the improvement of the basic social services for the benefit of the disadvantaged, said Prof. Gerry Lanuza, convenor of the UP Faculty for the Abolition of the Pork Barrel System and Presidential Pork Barrel Fund.
Lanuza and other UP faculty members said the allocation of P1.2 billion per senator for a six-year term and the P210 million per member of the House of Representatives for a three-year term could instead be put to better use. They also emphasized the need for a higher state subsidy for basic social services such as education and health.
“As public servants we are accountable to our people, especially the poor. We are not above the law,” they said in a statement.