- Posted August 28, 2013 by
Manila City, Philippines
This iReport is part of an assignment:
- Unsung Heroes Who Are Volunteering for the Victims of Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) in the Philippines
- Haiyan’s Aftermath in Ormoc City, Leyte, Philippines
- My Daughter Beatrice Was Bullied When She Was In Grade 4 Back In 2010
- The Anti-Pork Barrel Movement's Protest in Makati City
- About Ghana's Triumph in Curtailing Graft and Corruption
The March to Mendiola After the Million People’s March at the Luneta Park and the Pork-Barrel Issue in the Philippines
“Most of the participants of the said mass action were ordinary citizens who felt that they're being cheated by some politicians and contractors through non-existent or ghost projects and scams from the pork-barrel system,” said Pinera.
- zdan, CNN iReport producer
As it has been reported already, various groups from all walks of life converged at the Luneta Park in Manila, Philippines last Monday- Aug. 26, 2013. to protest against the so-called Pork-Barrel System. The rally was conceived via such social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook. The protest-action was called as "One Million March To Luneta" because its organizers had hoped that about one million people will show up in Luneta. Later estimates put the number of rallyists from between 75,000 to 80,000 people. Though the rally failed to reach its expected target of one million marchers, simultaneous protest-actions sympathizing with such an event did occur all over the Philippines and even outside of the country during that day. Therefore, the mass action became so dramatic for many Filipinos because many places in the Philippines became sites for mass actions against the pork barrel system last Monday.
But it should also be noted that after the “Picnic-Rally” at the Luneta Park, many protesters from that said mass action actually marched all the way from the said park up to the gates of the presidential palace- the Malacañang Palace. The protesters who continued the mass action by marching all the way to the gates of the presidential palace were mostly students, unionized workers and women’s groups. The protesters started their march from the Luneta Park at around 3 or past 3 in the afternoon last Monday- Aug. 26, 2013. Such protesters vowed to continue future mass actions against the pork barrel system. It should be noted that one of the protesters, as shown in some of the pictures in this iReport, wore a mask of a pig’s face to symbolize the pork-barrel system. The said masked man was mocked by the protesters to symbolize the Filipino people’s anger against the said pork-barrel system.
Lawmakers here in the Philippines are allocated large sums of the annual national budget (about 200 million pesos for each senator and 70 million for each representative in congress) in a program called the Priority Development Assistance Fund. The said funding is termed as 'pork-barrel system' by its critics since the allocated sums are, allegedly, usually spent on ghost projects and the channeling of such funds aren't apparently transparent to the public. Many of such ghost projects had reportedly been exposed by the local media and by certain 'whistle-blowers' to the public.
I think the mass actions against the pork-barrel system will continue inspite of Pres. Noynoy Aquino’s pledge to reform the said system. It should be noted that the protesters who marched all the way from Luneta Park to the gates of the presidential palace also made a pledge to struggle peacefully to scrap the said pork-barrel system. The said protesters also vowed to push for the Freedom of Information Bill that will make government’s financial transactions become accessible to public scrutiny. I think more protests will be held against the pork-barrel system in the coming days.
There are already plans for much bigger rallies in the month of September from certain internet forums. I think the 2nd Aquino administration must hold dialogues with the leaders of the anti- pork barrel movement to avoid further political polarization. Though the Philippines has already achieved a ‘rising-tiger economy status’, it can’t be denied that the pork-barrel system is a major source of graft and corruption in the country. Pres. Noynoy Aquino’s administration must think of ways to either reform the Priority Development Assistance Fund and make it truly-transparent to public scrutiny and, also, make an accurate auditing of it or just scrap the said pork-barrel system. Pres. Noynoy Aquino should also be open to the suggestions of the ordinary Filipino citizens about the said issue.