Thursday, 29 August 2013

The One Million People March in Luneta

Juana Change 
To celebrate National Heroes Day last August 26, we (Madonna, Ninfa, Jiggy and I) together with 80,000 or so of my countrymen marched to the Quirino Grandstand in Luneta to protest against the misuse of over P10-billion (about US$220-million) pork barrel in a period of ten years.

The pork barrel is slang referring to [wiki] 'the funding for government programs whose economic or service benefits are concentrated in a particular area but whose costs are spread among all taxpayers."

In the Philippines, it is referred to as the discretionary funds allotted to politicians for spending on priority development projects at the local level. We're talking about funds amounting to as much as P200-million (or US$4.4-million) to each senator and P70-million (or US$1.54-million) to each congressman.

The fund was scrapped during the Marcos regime and reintroduced during President Corazon Aquino's term in 1986 and was then called the Countryside Development Fund. It was later changed to the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

Signed petition to end pork barrel 
The petition (right photo) was filed by Peachy Bretaña in It calls for (1) the abolition of the pork barrel system; (2) account for all spent pork; and, (3) investigation and punishment for all guilty parties.

The pork barrel scam is actually not new. PCIJ in a report filed in 2005 "Billions in farm funds used for Arroyo campaign" bared that the P3B released by the Department of Agriculture to fund farmers' fertilizer needs and bankroll community irrigation projects, was allegedly divested to the presidential campaign of President Arroyo in 2004. As of this day, the controversy has not yet been resolved.

This new pork barrel scam involves businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles working together with senators and congressmen to divert their pork barrel to fund ghost projects' specifically, to non-existent foundations and non-government organizations (NGOs).

It was Benhur Lim Luy who exposed the fraudulent activities of her second cousin and employer. Click here to view the timeline starting from the six-part series expose of Philippine Daily Inquirer on July 12 to her surrender on August 28. To date, more whistleblowers are coming out and hopefully, aside from naming names, help build evidence to start the prosecution.

Photos taken during the One Million People March:

Thumbs down and say "Oink Oink Oink" to protest

Akbayan placard

Some protestors were in costume
Madonna with a protestor

Jograd dela Torre's version of Price Tag called 'Kawatan'

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