Hundreds join anti-pork barrel rally in Zambo PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 27 August 2013 11:26

Hundreds of residents joined the march yesterday to lambast corruption in government, particularly the controversial pork barrel fund given to congressmen and senators which they want abolished..

The protesters with streamers and placards gathered at  the Plaza Pershing where some speakers to turns in denouncing corruption, calling for the prosecution of personalities and officials involved in the PDAF or pork barrel scam.

The rally dubbed as “El Pueblo Unido Contra Robo” was held peacefully. It coincided with the nationwide protests against the Priority Development Assistance Fund which is given to  lawmakers for them to come up with small development projects in their district.

The PDAF became controversial with the Janet Lim Napoles case who is being accused of masterminding a scam in which the PDAF of congressmen and senators were used in bogus projects through fake non-government organizations.

Aside from Zamboanga, rallies against PDAF were staged in Manila, Cagayan and Davao Cities.

DBM records show that in 2012, members of the House of Representatives and the Senate received a total of P24.237 billion in PDAF releases. This year, members of Congress have so far received a total of P11.584 billion in pork barrel funds.

The Philippine National Police said the anti-pork barrel fund rally at Rizal Park was peaceful.

It added 100,000 people from different organizations gathered at the park.

Most of the participants at the rally, which called for the scrapping of the pork barrel system, were orderly.

Many of them opted to put their food wrappers in their pockets and look for a trash bin instead of throwing the wrappers indiscriminately, the PNP report added.

Except for an incident where participants booed former Chief Justice Renato Corona away from the site, the rally had been festive, with many holding a picnic at Rizal Park.

Police units have sealed off Malacañang amid reports that militants may march to Mendiola Bridge Monday

Meanwhile, Filipinos around the world also held simultaneous protest actions and activities to coincide with the mass action organized Monday in the country at the Rizal Park pushing for the abolition of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel.

Garry Martinez, Migrante International chairperson, said that Filipinos living and working in Asia, North Africa, Canada, United States, Australia, New Zealand and Europe “have found different ways and various forms to participate and show their outrage against corruption in the Aquino government.”

“For OFWs, it is only fitting that protests culminate today, National Heroes Day. Dubbed the ‘modern-day heroes’, OFWs are claiming their stake in the call to abolish Aquino’s pork barrel,” he said in a statement.

Martinez said that Filipinos launched simultaneous global protests with the following unities:— To reiterate the call to scrap the pork barrel as the e P26-billion congressional pork remains in the 2014 national budget;- To demand accountability and the prosecution of ALL persons, officials, agencies and bogus NGOs involved in the misuse of pork barrel funds; and,- To demand the re-channeling of the pork barrel to provide free, more accessible and more efficient services and welfare assistance for OFWs in distress.

“The fact that their billions worth of remittances and millions more from tax impositions and state exactions are being plundered by corrupt officials when services and assistance for distressed OFWs have gone from bad to worse,” he added.

Martinez noted that the August 26 protests are just a start of bigger and wider global protests to come.

Meanwhile, a party-list group applauded the thousands of concerned citizens that gathered at Luneta Park dubbed as “Million People march”.

“We are heartened to see that the spirit of protest is alive and that the people continue to believe that change must be furthered and deepened. If the Middle East has the Arab Spring, we have the ‘Filipino Habagat’,” said Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello in a statement.

The group participated in Monday’s protest action by organizing a “people’s jog” comprised of students, women and informal settlers who jogged from Kalaw St. to Luneta.

They also joined protests organized in other parts of country such as Baguio, Cebu, Bicol, Zamboanga and Davao.

The Akbayan also expressed dismay at the announcement by the government that the P25 billion worth of PDAF will remain in the budget proposal for 2014 and will only be totally scrapped the following year.