MANILA, Philippines – Filipinos nationwide will hold anti-pork barrel protests in different provinces and cities in solidarity with the Million People March Against Pork Barrel at the Luneta on National Heroes Day, August 26.
This, despite President Benigno Aquino III’s announcement on Friday, August 23, of plans to overhaul the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
In Naga City, Camarines Sur local civil rights groups and individuals organized “Halion an Pork Barrel! Naga March,” a protest set to happen at 9 am in Plaza Rizal.
The movement was initiated by Victor Dennis Nierva through a Facebook post, which was later picked up by various local rights groups and concerned citizens.
Nierva said the protest is a fitting tribute to the late Jesse Robredo, a former mayor of Naga, known for his good governance record.
Jan Rev Davila, an online coordinator for the event, said the protest will supplement the Luneta protest.
“We need to call for reforms, and we need to say it the loudest way possible. I believe the Luneta rally won’t be enough, the clamor must be held throughout the country. After all, the effects of all plundering of the people’s money are felt even in the outskirts,” Davila said.
Davaoeños are also planning to mobilize on National Heroes Day. Various posts circulating on Facebook urge residents to participate in a gathering on Monday morning at the city’s Rizal Park.
Several social networking site users are pooling in resources for the materials that will be used in the protest. No group has claimed leadership of the campaign, making it a public initiative.
Militant groups under Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Southern Mindanao Region will also stage a march protest around the city on August 26 to express their support in the clamor to end corruption.
“This is to show our unity for the junking of the pork barrel system and to make the politicians and businessmen involved in the scam pay for syphoning people’s money,” Bayan-SMR spokesperson Sheena Duazo said.
Ateneo de Davao University expressed its support for the campaign calling for the abolition of the pork barrel system.
President Fr Joel Tabora SJ in his Twitter and Facebook accounts on August 23, encouraged Catholic schools, workers and professionals in the city to join the protest march in Davao City.
“Let working people think of money withheld in taxes from their salaries, then come to Rizal Park Monday in indignation versus PDAF corruption,” Tabora said.
In Cebu City, netizens organized the Cebu Peaceful Protest Against the Pork Barrel set on Monday. Protesters will meet at Fuente Osmeña and then march to Plaza Independencia.
Palaweños will also stage a protest in Baywalk, Puerto Princesa. Protesters are encouraged to wear white. Palawan and the national government are currently in a wealth-sharing dispute over the Malampaya funds.
In Cagayan De Oro, the Kagay-anon Kontra Sa Korap protest is set to happen in Gaston Park at 2 pm on Monday.
Similarly, Ilonggos will also join the movement. The local protest will start at 9 am on August 26 in the Capitol Grounds in Iloilo City.
In Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, Negrosanons Kontra Korapsyon will stage the protest called “Tipon Tipon Sa Lagoon” in front of the provincial capitol building.
Dumagueteños will also stage a protest in Dumaguete City’s Rizal Boulevard on Monday, 9 am.
In Tacloban City, a similar movement will happen in RTR Plaza on Monday, 9 am.
Similar protests have also been organized in Dagupan City, Baguio City, and Digos City, Davao Del Sur.
Youth and civil society groups
Aside from the local protests set by citizens, many youth and civil society groups will also join the Monday protests.
Among the various organizations who have called on their members to march are: Freedom of Information Youth Initiative (FYI), Right to Know, Right Now! Coalition, Christian Convergence for Good Governance (CCGG), EcoWaste Coalition (EWC) and Simbahang Lingkod Bayan.
Top universities have also expressed their support for the protest.
On August 22, De La Salle University (DLSU) President Br Jose Mari Jimenez, FSC wrote an open letter to the De La Salle community inviting Lasallians to “renew (their) commitment to good governance” by participating in the mass action on Monday.
Lasallians are encouraged to wear white shirts and green armbands. They are set to meet at the Cory Aquino Democratic Space of the DLSU Manila campus at 7:30 am before marching to Luneta.
Ateneo de Manila University ADMU students are also spearheading campaigns to support the anti-pork barrel protest.
#TayoAngBoss was started to encourage students to attend the Luneta protest. Free transportation will be provided for limited students on a sign up basis.
The Million People March Against Pork Barrel first started on a Facebook page created after news on the alleged grave misuse of pork barrel broke out.
In a statement issues on August 24, the University of the Philippines faculty also condemned Aquino’s announcement to overhaul the PDAF. On August 26, the UP community will march from Liwasang Bonifacio to Rizal Park to Mendiola.-with reports from Karlos Manlupig, Allan Rey Camata/ Rappler.com