Thousands of Filipinos spend holiday in Luneta pork barrel march
by FFE PH News staff
Yesterday was National Heroes Day in the Philippines, a national public holiday which also marked the Million People March in LunetaPark, Manila. The march was a protest march against the pork barrel system in the Philippines.
Despite President Noynoy’s announcement August 23 of his intent to abolish the PDAF or the pork barrel system, the march pushed through. People shouted “makibaka, huwag magbaboy” [fight, don’t pig out] all over the park and even wore pig costumes and turned to creative means to express their sentiments to the government. Celebrities seen among the crowd were Gloria Diaz, Jim Paredes, Juana Change, and others.
Mae Paner aka Juana Change joins the rally
The police have estimated that 60,000 people were in attendance. The National Parks Development Committee, meanwhile, numbered the crowd at 300,000. The march has so far been the largest people’s gathering to have been organised through social media.
According to reports, the idea for the march started when vocalist Ito Rapadas of the 80’s group Neocolours posted a call for a protest against pork barrel through Facebook. Creative director for an advertising agency Peachy Rallonza Bretaña set the date and the venue. Their messages then went viral through emails, retweets, shares and text messages.
Because of the lack of a central organiser, the march took on the atmosphere of a picnic. But instead of food, the crowd brought placards and tarpaulins carrying their messages.
The crowd was made up of various groups, including families, friends, and classmates as well as religious groups, militant organisations and others. Most of them wore white and marched despite the muddy grounds and light rain.
There were a group of high school students from Don Bosco, college students from Ateneo and even a group from Radyo Veritas which conducted a mass. Students from the AssumptionCollege also checked into the nearby Manila Hotel.
Sister Mary John Mananzan of the Benedictine Missionary spoke to a crowd, saying “umigting ang konsensiya ng bayan na tutol sa PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund) at pork barrel” [the people have had enough of the PDAF and pork barrel]. Other religious groups present in the march included Daughters of Charity ng Parañaque, Praise Christ Fellowship Purok 7, and St. Vincent School of Theology.
Some people started pouring into the picnic area of LunetaPark early morning after breaking their fasts at the Manila Hotel. Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona and Archbishop Oscar Cruz were among these.
Corona was booed at in the Million People March
The former court justice wore white and attempted to join the march. However, the crowd became animated and shouted “epal” [shameless] and “magnanakaw” [thief] until his group drove away.
Militant groups like Gabriela, Rebolusyonaryong Alyansang Makabayan (RAM) and Bayan also had a spot on the grounds marked by their flags. Members of RAM at one point marched around the venue. Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes at remarked “sagad na ang pasensya ng tao” [the people’s patience is wearing thin].
Despite the public outrage against the government, the march was peaceful and the crowd did not leave any trash in the vicinity.