Filipinos are already fed up with shameless corruption in the government that they want to end politicians’ pork barrel and are set to gather at the Luneta Park on August 26, National Heroes’ Day.
It started out as a simple idea. Friends Arnold Pedrigal, Peachy Bretana, and Bernardo Bernardo created a Facebook event page to gather like-minded people who want the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel scrapped.
The gathering, scheduled on August 26, aims to gather one million people to assemble at the Luneta Park for a “massive pocket picnic.”
The event invitations calls on “ordinary, tax-paying people” to show “government (that) they answer to us. Tayo ang boss dito!” (We are the boss!)
The event has no particular organizer, according to a concerned citizen. Each one is an organizer. Here’s a report from Interaksyon:
Spurred by a simple Facebook invitation posted by ordinary citizens such as Peachy Rallonza-Bretañato, the event dubbed as the “Million People March to Luneta” has over the past days gained a life of its own, with no formal leadership.
“Each one of us is the organizer,” said Bretaña, who is being credited with having initiated the Facebook call for Filipinos to gather at the Quirino Grandstand on National Heroes’ Day. The event demands an explanation for the Janet Lim Napoles pork barrel scam that has scandalized the nation, with some supportive citizens and sectors preparing to call for the outright abolition of the pork barrel system.
So far more than 9,000 netizens have already confirmed their attendance, according to the event’s Facebook page. The group’s invitation states:
TARA LET’S DO THE MILLION PEOPLE MARCH TO LUNETA! AUGUST 26, ARAW NG MGA BAYANI
WE, THE TAXPAYERS, WANT:
1. THE PORK BARREL SCRAPPED.
2. THE SENATORS AND CONGRESSMEN IN THE PORK BARREL FUND SCAM INVESTIGATED AND CHARGED ACCORDINGLY, WITH FULL MEDIA COVERAGE FOR THE PEOPLE TO SEE.
HOW: With a massive “pocket picnic” get together
WHEN: 26 August 2013, 9am
WHERE: In front of the LUNETA Grandstand
COLOR: ANY COLOR YOU CHOOSE, NOT DICTATED BY ANYONE OR ANY GROUP.
The group also issued the following Statement of Unity and Concerns:
In a statement of concern and its points of unity USAP called for the following :
1. The abolition of the pork barrel system in the euphemism of Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), the source of graft and corruption in the government used for political patronage and not for the benefit of the people;
2. The use of abolished PDAF for basic services like education, needed infrastructure against floods and natural disasters, environmental degradation and poverty alleviation, not for elections and not for debt service for foreign banks and interests;
3. Punish all grafters in the governments and those who were found guilty of malversation of public funds and ostentatious living out of PDAF
4. USAP calls on President Aquino to start by divesting himself of his own PDAF and acting his talks. He should serve as an example of real action just has he promised. Not of PR talks and “Papogi” points.
One group member posted the following photo:
Actress and Cavite 2nd district Rep. Lani Mercado Revilla is one of those who is not in favor of scrapping pork barrel. She reportedly told PEP, a showbiz website, in an interview last week: “Basta ‘wag lang manghihingi sa amin ang mga tao!”
“E ano’ng ibibigay namin? Hindi naman puwede yung pinaghihirapan namin dahil sa personal naman namin ‘yun, sa mga anak, sa mga pang-araw-araw na paggastos namin,” Mercado added.
Her statement has been making the rounds online, drawing bitter reactions from netizens who criticized Mercado for being “thick-faced” for seeming to claim public money as lawmakers’ own.