MANILA, Philippines - No effigy-burning. No confetti. No vandalism.
These were just some of the things environmentalists loved about the Million People March protest that drew more than 100,000 people to Luneta Park to condemn the pork barrel system on August 26.
“We commend the hundreds of thousands of Filipinos for manifesting their anger over corruption without sullying the historic park with garbage," said Aileen Lucero, acting national coordinator of waste and pollution watchdog EcoWaste Coalition.
"We have proven that we can be downright angry at pork barrel abuse, but disciplined and environmentally-responsible."
She pointed out that the protest set the bar for future movements and public events in Luneta and other outdoor venues.
National Parks Development Committee (NPDC) Director Juliet Villegas also commended the rally for being "clean" compared to other similar protests. Before the protest, she appealed to participants to respect the "no smoking, no littering" policy of the park.
For the duration of the protest's 9 am to 2 pm program, participants did not set off firecrackers or fireworks, did not burn trash and refrained from hanging banners on trees. This reduced the toxins and wastes created by the rally and prevented the damage of trees and property.
Lucero lauded the efforts of waste-conscious protesters, eco-volunteers and street sweepers from NPDC, the Department of Public Services of Manila and the Metro Manila Development Authority for keeping the park garbage-free.
Luneta Park, also known as Rizal Park, is a 58-hectare urban park that has been a favored tourism destination since the 1800s when it was first named Paseo de Luneta. It is regarded by environmentalists as the capital city's green lung and premier public space. - Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at email@example.com.