Massive protests, the biggest since President Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III took office three years ago, rocked the Philippines on National Heroes Day as hundreds of thousands expressed indignation against government corruption and called for the full abolition of the pork barrel.
Police estimated that around 80,000 to 100,000 gathered in Rizal Park in Manila, the national capital, while thousands more held mass actions in other cities nationwide. The PDAF has long been the target of critics as a site of official corruption. But public uproar swelled after a whistleblower identified businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles who is alleged to have conspired with lawmakers to pocket P10 billion through the fund.
The concept for a million people march against the pork barrel began with a random Facebook post by music producer Ito Rapadas.
What we need is a MILLION PEOPLE MARCH by struggling Filipino taxpayers- a day of protest by the silent majority that would demand all politicians and govt. officials (whatever the political stripes, color they may carry) to stop pocketing our taxes borne out from our hard work by means of these pork barrel scams and other creative criminal acts.
This was shared by various netizens including his friend Peachy Bretaña who suggested that the mass action be held on August 26 in time for the National Heroes Day.
Protest actions were also held in various cities nationwide, notably in Bacolod City, Baguio City, Cagayan de Oro, Cebu City, Dagupan City, Davao City, Digos City, Dumaguete City, Iloilo City, Naga City, and Puerto Princessa in Palawan.
Perhaps to deflect public outrage, Aquino promised the abolition of the PDAF and its replacement by a more transparent funding scheme last Friday. The protest action still pushed through.
During the day of the actual protest, President Aquino and his spokespersons announced that the government was on the same side with the protesters. Apparently, many were not convinced. Here were some reactions on Twitter: