Anti- pork rally continues in Manila
by FFE PH News staff
Luneta Park once again became a staging ground for anti-pork barrel protesters on Friday. But unlike the first march last month, yesterday drew in an estimated 3,000 to 4,000 participants from interfaith groups, health sector, cause-oriented groups, militants and students.
Students join the rally last Friday. Photo source: mb.com.ph
However, sentiments remain the same: abolish the pork barrel system, in particular President Benigno Aquino III’s own presidential discretionary funds.
Father Jose Dizon, head of the #Abolishpork Movement and one of the organisers, called into question the president’s sincerity in ridding the government of corruption, saying “The issue is now beyond Janet Napoles and her bogus NGOs. The issue strikes at the heart of the corrupt system itself. Will there be genuine accountability?”
Napoles is accused as the mastermind of the Php10 billion pork barrel scam. She currently faces charges on serious illegal detention and is being held in Laguna.
Health groups called for the appropriation of pork barrel funds to public health. The Alliance of Health Workers (AHW), one of the groups in the rally, pointed out that 2014 funds for the Lung Center of the Philippines is Php173.4m, way less than a senator’s pork barrel.
Photo souce: mb.com.ph
The group added that cuts in funds for the Philippine General Hospital have become a “detriment of more than half a million patients that seek refuge in PGH.”
A 66-year-old senior citizen, Rogelio C. Palad of Cabanatuan City, who has been a consistent protester since the first anti-pork rally, said that future generations will suffer because of the current actions of government leaders.
Aside from AHW, groups which attended the Friday rally include Youth act now! Alliance, the Association of Major Religious Superiors, the Catholic Educators Association, members of Protestant churches, Concerned Citizens Movement, Health Alliance for Democracy, and Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption. Performers who attended were Bayang Barrios, Jograd dela Torre and Juana Change.
The Friday rally is the third anti-pork gathering staged around Metro Manila. Organisers said they are preparing for a nationwide and coordinated protest on September 21, the anniversary of Martial Law.