THOUSANDS SIGN PETITION AGAINST PNG BILLS

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Oct. 17) – More than 20,000 Papua New Guinea residents have so far signed a petition opposing two bills that are to be tabled in the next parliamentary session which begins next week.

Transparency International (TI) PNG, which is organising the signature campaign together with the Media Council of PNG, said many more are expected to add their names to the petition.

One bill introduced by Lagaip-Porgera Member of Parliament Kappa Yarka seeks to prevent leaders from being dismissed under the Leadership Code while another Bill by Nuku Member of Parliament Andrew Kumbakor seeks to increases the district support grant from K500,000 to K1.5 million.

Western province governor Dr Bob Danaya has agreed to present the petition in Parliament on Oct 25.

On Friday, more than 300 women and youths met at the Lae Catholic Diocese Centre where they voiced their opposition to the two Bills.

They also agreed to write to the nine Morobean Members of Parliament to oppose the Bills and called on them to attend a public forum on Thursday.

Morobe Provincial Council Youth president Robert Williong and Morobe Provincial Council of Women vice-chairman Efo Mare issued a joint statement after meeting, urging the MPs to seek the people’s views.

They said they had already collected about 2,000 signatures to the petition started by the Community Coalition Against Corruption and expected another 9,000 more.

They reminded the MPs of their contribution during elections and warned that if their concerns were not addressed, they would wage a war on corruption against all leaders.

Mr Williong said instead of increasing the grants, commonly referred to as slush funds, the government should instead increasing direct funding for services like health, roads, bridges, schools agriculture and others that could impact on the people’s lives.

"Our health facilities are being run down, schools are struggling to survive and major feeder roads in rural areas have totally closed because of the lack of funding," he said.

Mr Charlie Noriming, speaking on behalf of Ward 5 youths in Lae ULLG, said leaders should remember the phrase — "Do what you can do for the country and not what the country can do for you".

Arnold Willie, of Four Mile, Lae City, urged the leaders to use their common sense when deliberating on important issues affecting the country.

"We have a good government that has managed our economy this far and we do not want this to be ripped off by greedy men with selfish motives," he said.

October 17, 2005

The National: www.thenational.com.pg/

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