#ScrapPork protests in 23 cities
MANILA, Philippines - Other cities across the country joined Manila's #MillionPeopleMarch at the Luneta Park and separately called for the abolition of pork — Davao, Naga, Puerto Princesa, Baguio, Bacolod, and Tacloban, on Monday, August 26.
In Davao City, at least 700 people led by the multisectoral group Pagbabago Movement for Change and the Ateneo de Davao University marched from Freedom Park to Rizal Park calling for the abolition, not only of the controversial Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), but also of President Benigno Aquino III's presidential social fund.
Ateneo de Davao University professor Andy Villa said, "This should serve as the jumping board towards national enlightenment that there are structural problems in our society including inequality and patronage politics. We should sustain the discourse and involve everybody from all walks of life
Villa added that the protest action was one of the best ways to commemorate National Heroes' Day.
Other parts of Luzon
In Baguio, around 1000 protesters gathered at the Rose Garden, Luchie Maranan of the Baguio Writers Group said.
"The energy of the people who were there was high. It was a spontaneous demonstration of indignaton. All those who spoke challenged the people to not let their guard down," Maranan said.
They vowed to monitor ongoing probes of the pork barrel scam, Maranan added.
To depict his indignation over the controversy, film maker Kidlat Tahimik brought 12 bul-ols (Cordilleran rice god figures) carved by Ifugao wood carvers. In a flash performance, he arranged the indigenous figures like a pantheon of dieties with one bul-ol holding a tied pig before shouting, "No to Pork!"
"Are we going to allow only one person to control the pork?" Kidlat Tahimik asked.
At least 100 Ilocanos gathered at the Aurora Park in Laoag City, shouting, "Let the pigs fry in their own lard!"
In Naga, over 100 people staged a rally at Plaza Rizal. The Catholic Church held a separate rally at 4:00 pm, Monday, August 26.
In Puerto Princesa, protesters gathered at the city's baywalk.
The Peace Advocates of Negros also joined voices of protest against the abuse and misuse of pork barrel and issued a statement titled, “Thou Shalt Not Steal” on Monday, August 26.
More than 2,000 Negrenses also gathered in front of the provincial Negros Capitol building at about 9 am on Monday, to join the nationwide call for the abolition of pork barrel.
The Negrosanons Kontra Korapsyon (NKK), which led the activity, said in a manifesto, “We are enraged by how some of our legislators/public officials and line agency heads, in connivance with unscrupulous NGOs and their accomplices, have perpetuated systematic plunder and deliberate abuse of the PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund) through the years.”
The Negros peace advocates said, “We will not accept any attempt to simply rename the same Pork Barrel with another one to appease the angry citizens.”
In Tacloban City, about 100 people gathered at the RTR plaza as part of the nationwide march in the morning.
Members of the militant Makabayan coalition in Leyte held a bigger rally in the afternoon.
Meanwhile, at least 3,200 Cebuanos reportedly marched to Plaza Independencia despite the gloomy weather.
"The mood was hopeful with fellow Cebuanos of different ages, religions, professions, and backgrounds coming together in protest against the pork barrel," Dr Rowena Burden, said.
"Mabuhay kayong nakisali online at sa kalsada. Mabuhay kayong mga may pakialam (Long live for those who took a stand online and on the streets. Long live for those who care.)," musician Chay Fonacier posted on her Twitter account.
After attending the rally, Fonacier, a disc jockey (DJ), challenged protesters to remain vigilant.
Protest actions were also planned in other cities across the country:
Luzon: Dagupan, Daet, Laoag, and Tuguegarao
Visayas: Dumaguete, Iloilo, and Tagbilaran City
Mindanao: Butuan, Digos, Cagayan De Oro City, General Santos, Iligan, Kidapawan, Tacurong, Sultan Kudarat, and Zamboanga
The nationwide mass action, which coincided with the celebration of the Heroes' Day, was initiated by citizens on the web. The movement set ablaze social media, generating about 5 related posts on Twitter per second.
TIMELINE: The road to the Million People March. - With reports from Mica Romulo/Rappler.com