What we need is a MILLION PEOPLE MARCH by struggling Filipino taxpayers- a day of protest by the silent majority that would demand all politicians and govt. officials (whatever the political stripes, color they may carry) to stop pocketing our taxes borne out from our hard work by means of these pork barrel scams and other creative criminal acts.
This was shared by various netizens including his friend Peachy Bretaña who suggested that the mass action be held on August 26 in time for the National Heroes Day.
Massive protests, the biggest since President Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III took office three years ago, rocked the Philippines on National Heroes Day as hundreds of thousands expressed indignation against government corruption and called for the full abolition of the pork barrel. Police estimated that around 80,000 to 100,000 gathered in Rizal Park in Manila, the national capital, while thousands more held mass actions in other cities nationwide. Public outrage against the corruption-tainted pork barrel came in the wake of exposéson the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), which is allotted for legislators in Congress and Senate for use in pet projects. The PDAF has long been the target of critics as a site of official corruption. But public uproar swelled after a whistleblower identified businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles who is alleged to have conspired with lawmakers to pocket P10 billion through the fund.
Between 80,000 to 100,000, according to police estimate, turned out including professionals, students, workers, priests, nuns and even civic and showbiz personalities, in a sign of the breadth of anger over graft in the country. “It was most probably 60,000 to 70,000 during the rally. At most, I would say about 100,000,” said national police spokesman Reuben Sindac.
Organizers said the rally drew as many as 400,000 people.
Protests fuelled by the public’s outrage over the alleged misuse of pork barrel funds will culminate on Monday, August 26, in “A Million People’s March to Luneta,” which is seen to become the massive protest against corruption in government. No single group has been identified to be the main organizer of the protest, which was first called for through Facebook, Twitter and blogs. “Non-partisan, galit lang sa kawatan … Wear white for solidarity … 9:00 a.m.,” the poster for the march reads. The graphic with a design characteristic of posters in the 1980s features a raised fist highlighted with the rays of the sun of the Philippine flag. The Commission on Audit (COA) has released a special report baring the lawmakers’ alleged misuse of billions of Priority Development Assistance Funds and the Various Infrastructures including Local Projects allocations or pork barrel from 2007 to 2009. The COA findings combined with the ongoing government investigation against businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles for allegedly setting up dummy organizations and ghost projects where congressional pork is channelled heightened the call for government to scrap the funds.
The influential Archbishop of Manila, Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, called on the crowd to be “honorable” and to work together for the less fortunate. “Let us look upon the oppressed and the poor as our true brothers. Let us listen to the heartbeat of our nation and the voice of God,” he said. Tagle said he prayed that people would “fear God, value others, love country, take care of the environment and be honorable above all else. Systems and laws should pave the way for heroism.” After Tagle’s short talk, the cardinal, who was driven to tears following the expose on the P10 billion pork barrel scam, led the crowd in singing the religious song “Pananagutan.”