#ScrapPork invades Makati
by FFE PH News staff
The Philippines’ financial district turned into a hub for political change on Friday as the #ScrapPork protest drew in protesters from all walks of life.
The mass action held in Ayala Avenue featured performances by artists and speeches from the labour sector, religious and advocacy groups. Among them were former archbishop Oscar Cruz, Lidy Nacpil of the Freedom from Debt Coalition, NBN-ZTE scam whistleblower Jun Lozada and former national treasurer Liling Briones.
Ayala protest last Friday, October 4. Photo source: Charlie Ledesma
The organisers of the #ScrapPork protest – a network which includes organisers from the #MillionPeopleMarch last August – presented a list of 8 demands for the government. However, they made it clear that the protest did not call for the ouster of president Benigno S. Aquino III.
Participants wore pink shirts and ribbons, blew out whistles and conducted a signature drive to express their support for the scrapping of the pork barrel funds and the Development Acceleration Program (DAP). An eight-foot golden pig was also displayed, but police did not allow the protesters to burn the effigy.
Archbishop Cruz expressed his dismay over the ‘foolishness’ of the government. He said in Filipino ‘This is like a comedy. They say they will remove the pork barrel of the legislative – the Congress and the Senate. But [for] the executive department, it will not be removed and will even be bigger. This is foolishness.
‘I’m not saying the president is a thief. What I’m simply saying is he is being tricked by those around him… Those who suffer are the poor.’
Juana Change said the venue served as a wake-up call for the middle class. ‘Makati is a good venue because this is the center of commerce … to send a message to … the business sector. Because they’re the most iffy about the pork barrel system.
‘I don’t know if they’re scared, or if they’re too scared of the President, or they’re thinking too much of their own interests.’
A group representing employees of the business outsourcing process (BPO) industry called for a 3-month tax holiday for Filipinos. BPO Industry Employees’ Network said ‘If the taxes we pay to the government are merely being pocketed by big politicians, we might as well keep our money and have a tax holiday.’
Police crowd estimates placed the number at around 2,600, peaking at around 5pm. But protest organiser Nato Reyes said the crowd peaked at 8,000 given the organised groups and unaffiliated individuals who came and went during the programme.
The programme was set to end at 8pm, but protesters dispersed earlier due to a sudden downpour.