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    Iglesia Filipina Independiente Gives Full Support 

    to the People's Initiative to Abolish the Pork Barrel

     The Iglesia Filipina Independiente, true to her calling as a Church that is “Pro Deo et Patria”, has given full support to the nationwide campaign to “Enact a National Legislation Abolishing the Pork Barrel System through People's  Initiative."

    The Executive Commission (EXECOM), during its June and September 2014 meetings, presided by the Obispo Maximo, The Most Revd Ephraim Fajutagana, decisively approved actions to support the People’s Initiative for the Abolition of the Pork Barrel through signature campaign, declared October 5 as National PI Sign-up Sunday, declared all parishes and chapels nationwide as PI Sign-up Centers, and strongly encouraged dioceses to organize PI volunteers from all parishes and initiate education campaigns inside and outside the Church.

    The Supreme Council of Bishops (SCB) inspired the EXECOM through its statements and recommendations. On September 2013, the SCB, led by its chairperson, the Right Revd Vic Esclamado, prophetically spoke against bureaucratic corruption, exemplified by the multiple cases of plunder connected to the government's pork barrel system, and called for the abolition of the presidential and congressional pork barrel. Consequently, the SCB, led by its new chairperson, the Right Revd Rhee Timbang, in its September 2014 meeting, expressed full support to the People's Initiative and exhorted all members of the Church to do the same. 

    The IFI also serves as co-convenor of the Church People’s Alliance against Pork Barrel and represented by its General Secretary, the Right Revd Joselito Cruz. The IFI organized delegations of clergy and laypeople to protest actions against pork barrel, leading to the historic people’s congress in Cebu city on August 23. The IFI was represented by 5 bishops ( the Most Revd Godofredo David, former Obispo Maximo and representing South Central Luzon Bishops Conference,  the Right Revd Rudy Juliada, Mindanao Bishops Conference Chairperson, the Right Revd Felixberto Calang of Cagayan de Oro Diocese, the Right Revd David Ga, representing the Visayas Bishops Conference, and Right Revd Joselito Cruz) and by priests and laypeople from the Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

    The IFI National Office is currently coordinating efforts for the PI, particularly in awareness building, distribution of materials, and establishing linkages with ecumenical and people’s organizations, in order to richly contribute to the realization of the noble purpose of the People’s Initiative. 

    * Go to People's Initiative (PI) page for materials and documents.


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      Pastoral Statement of the Supreme Council of Bishops

    SAFEGUARD THE DIGNITY OF EVERY HUMAN PERSON AND GOD’S CREATION, 

     STAND AGAINST STATE OPPRESSION AND BUREAUCRATIC CORRUPTION

    “You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world.” (Matthew 5:13a, 14a) 

    1. We see too many people suffering from injustice in our society today. Common good is compromised and public interest has been placed at the heel of political opportunism. Poverty has become the fate of thousands and millions of families abandoned by a government that burgeons in corruption. Elitist politics has taken a strong grip on the country’s democratic institutions. Public office has degenerated into political dynasty. Despots thwarted the rule of law and turned the laws of the land into an instrument to suppress the people’s legitimate demands for reforms.   

    2. We respond to these realities in the light of our Christian faith and hope. Commitment to social justice is an essential characteristic of proclaiming the Gospel of Christ and we give concrete expression to this commitment when we work for the promotion of human dignity and the protection of human rights. Working for a just social and political order is a responsibility that flows from our duty as disciple of Christ. We understand that it is an imperative of faith for Christians to contribute towards the shaping of a nation where the requirements of social justice is realized, and in building a world where the dignity of every human person and the rest of God’s creation is respected.    

    3. We, therefore, offer you our reading of the signs of the times in this episcopal letter, inviting everyone to discernment and asking your commitment to stand with us, your brother bishops.

    Read full statement here.

                                                                                                                                   

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      Pastoral Statement of the Supreme Council of Bishops

    SUPPORT THE PEOPLE’S INITIATIVE,

    MOBILIZE OUR PEOPLE AND OPEN OUR CHURCHES AS VENUES
     FOR THE SIGNING OF THE PETITION OF THE PEOPLE’S INITIATIVE

    But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation,

    God’s own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him

     who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.”

    (1 Peter 2:9 RSV)

    1.   We, the Supreme Council of Bishops (SCB), of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI), gathered on September 2-5, 2014 in Pandan, Antique for our Regular Meeting.

    2.   Conscious of our roles as church leaders, pastors and teachers, we strongly support the movement to abolish the pork barrel system and endorse the People’s Initiative. We are convinced that the People’s Initiative must be invoked as a mechanism provided for by the Constitution to pass legislation, in this instant case, to end and abolish all forms of lump sum and discretionary appropriations in the government. It is a concrete expression and direct exercise of the power of the people on whom sovereignty resides.

    3.   The pork barrel system in the Philippines was introduced in the Philippines by the Americans in 1922. It is anomalous and immoral because this is one massive source of graft and corruption; distorts budgetary needs and processes; its disbursement as public funds favour political allies promoting patronage politics and “legalizing” vote buying; and serves as means for Malacanang to control both Houses of Congress thus violating the constitutional principles of effective checks and balance.

    Read full statement here.

                                                                                                                                   

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