- Posted August 26, 2013 by
Filipinos Stage Million People March To Protest Versus Pork Barrel Scam
Aug. 26, 2013
Nigerian-Filipino Family, 3 Kids
Join Million People March In Rizal Park
RIZAL PARK, Manila -- A Nigerian-Filipino family, evangelist Joel Maurice and his wife Jennifer of Metro Manila, Philippines, and their three young children, King David, Prince Diamond, and Princess Pearl joined on Monday the historic Million People March launched to protest and demand the abolition of the much-maligned Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of senators and congressmen.
CNN iReport chanced upon the family eating hot dogs at a street food stall in Rizal Park, also called Luneta Park, where the monument of Filipino national hero Dr. Jose Rizal looms as if observing the protest rally.
Maurice, a Nigerian who has been in the Philippines for six years, said they came to the park to see the unfolding event that started on a Facebook wall post.
The couple belongs to the Center for Christian Community Transformation (CCCT).
That Facebook wall post came in reaction to a series of newspaper articles recently, detailing what came to be called the PDAF scam involving P10 billion tax-payers money that allegedly went to the pockets of unscrupulous people, both in public and private sectors.
Yes, all road led on August 26 to the Luneta Park, the favorite weekend hideaway for the common Filipino masses. A place just overlooking Manila Bay and its famous sunset.
There were many other destinations, too, around the country, and in countries where there are Filipinos, who staged their own anti-pork barrel protests.
As of 04:35 p.m. on Monday, the Million People March Facebook page has 20,917 people who said they were attending out of the 168,354 invited to participate, 4,223 undecided, and 1,535 Likes.
The anti-pork barrel protest is for an overriding purpose, one that has galvanized Filipinos: to voice their rage against the P10-billion PDAF scam and a call for the total abolition -- not just a name-change -- of the now-highly unpopular PDAF of senators and congressmen.
That included the call for a credible probe of the pork barrel anomaly and the prosecution of the alleged main player, the senators, congressmen named in news reports and others supposed to be involved.
For the record, all those being linked by the whistle-blowers and a government audit on the PDAF have denied any wrongdoing.
The one million targeted participants did not materialize, still thousands came: men, women, young and old, children, and their pets, too. After-rally estimates made by police put the number at about 100,000. A report radio Tueday quoted figures as much as 300,000.
It all started with, well, an idea, as many great events did.
Credited for the call are Ito Rapadas, lead signer of the band Neocolors and Peachy Rallonza-Bretaña, whose posts on Facebook caught steam like a wild fire.
The rest is history.
It was apparently a reiteration of, or inspired by, the Million Man March of hundreds of thousands of black people who marched to Washington, D.C., in the United States in 1995 to protest for civil rights.
Here’s what some Filipinos, chosen at random, on Facebook and Twitter say:
Butch Peña, who, together with his fellow Batch 1981 University of Santo Tomas (UST) alumni are going, says:
“The issue is very simple. We are here to abolish the pork barrel and punish those who pocketed the tax payers money. We are there to gather peacefully like you are going to a "picnic" and show the world we are united in our cause. If you have other issues to add, make your own rally, in a different day, and if its valid, we will join you too. This is my first time to attend something like this, so if it becomes traumatic and violent, it will be the last.”
Raffy Gutierrez, University of the Philippines:
“I am very excited to join the Luneta Rally tomorrow to express our disgust over the grave misuse of our hard earned tax money. A lot of very interesting insights have been shared by many of those who have been active on this historical Facebook page. Thank you for taking time to share inspiring messages to the nation.”
"Organize yourselves into groups if you plan to go. Mas masaya kung grupong pupunta sa protesta" (@twitter_ph)
“Why are people angry? Coz 1M more are UNEMPLOYED wyl corrupt pols&cohorts enjoy life!” (@bethangsioco)
“Let's make a DIFFERENCE. We are Filipinos, we love the Philippines.” (@aceflyhigh)
“Manhid ang hindi galit! Peole are angry & amp; rightly so!”@pinoymommy)
“Not all pork is bad. Not all reps are evil. Let's bring to justice those who did make a mistake. Enough indignation.” (@cocoy)
“An effective way to reach 1M at Luneta is to come in groups: Family, friends, colleagues, classmates, clubs, organizations.” (@tonyocruz)
“The rally is not about who is there but why we are all there . Let's Attend Aug 26.” (@momblogger)
Still from Facebook:
“CHANGE is sincere and effective Only if it Starts with the Here-And-Now... "with ME", and that means, with the Present, the Incumbent and his Allies. otherwise, there will be No Change. Only Blame Pointing, Deflecting the Blame from the ones in power while they change the name and course of the evil.”
Maria Elena M.:
“It's time for us Filipino people to make a stand, for a change, for a better tomorrow, for a better Philippines! If the pork barrel will only be used and abused by them, I still believe that we, the Filipino people can have a better use of it... for our health care until we die, for our children's education until they reach 18 years old, for a better drainage system, for a better and durable dikes / dams, for a better and durable bridges / roads, for a better allocation of funds.”
“Kami po sa Geneva, Switzerland, ay nakikiisa sa Million People March !!! Mabuhay kayo!!! Abolish the pork barrel system!!! No to recycled pork!”
Othello Dela Cruz:
“Kung pwede lang sanang hindi magbayad ng income tax, kaso automatic ang deduction. Isipin na lang nyo Php 10 Billion o mahigit pa ang dapat sana'y napunta sa ating pamilya, instead napunta sa mga magnanakaw na mga baboy na tinawag nating HONORABLE GENTLEMEN. Kakasuka ang inyong asal.”
Noel Layon Flores:
“It's about time most of the middle class are starting to become aware and be angry with what our law makers and so called political leaders are doing and not doing. Our young needs to see this exercise of freedom. This exercise of individual but unified nationhood. No factions, no political parties... Not just civilians... All CITIZENS.”
Those who have come to emerge as volunteers for the Million People March said there was no requirement for the color of clothes anyone may wear to Rizal Park.
On the other hand, they said white would be preferable, since it has all the tints of the other colors.
They also asked marchers to capture videos and photographs and post them on Facebook and Twitter, using the hashtags #MillionPeopleMarch and #ScrapPork, among others.
So, were you at the Rizal Park on Aug. 26, 2013? #