By EARL O. CONDEZA
Davao City – Many participants in Davao’s Million People March were first-timers and found the march-rally ‘inspiring’ and ‘educational.’
Melba Tambakan, part time worker for the government’s National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) said joining the protest is “Lingaw siya og kanang maka inspire kay daghan kaayog tao nga nagkahiusa gyud para i-abolish ang pork barrel (It’s fun and inspiring to see a lot of people are united to abolish pork barrel)”
For biker William Lutz, he was invited by his friend to join the rally. “Actually first time nako ni kay naimbitahan ko sa akong amigo,gwapo kay daghan kag matun-an sa mga nag speech (Actually this is my first time because a friend invited me to come. This is good because there are a lot of things you could learn from the speeches).”
Speakers included Ateneo de Davao University President Fr. Joe Tabora SJ, Sisters’ Association in Mindanao’s Sr. Noemi Degala SMSM, Professor Caesar Billones from Philippine Centrist for Democracy, Davao Association of Colleges and Schools, Pagbabago Movement, and Assumption College of Davao.
A student leader, Gelyn Alapag, chair of UP Mindanao College of Humanities and Social Science Student Council said she supports the abolition of the PDAF and to re-channel it to education and other services.
Alapag said students like her in state universities are suffering from budget cut. The Aquino government slashed the UP system budget by 1.4 billion pesos.
“Dapat i-abolish na ang pork barrel at ilagay sa social services ang budget, panahon na ang pera na ginagastos ng mga taong nakikinabang sa pera ng bayan (The pork barrel system should be abolished and rechanneled to social services budget. It’s time the people benefit from their money)” she said.
Arian Jane Ramos, a senior communication arts student and chair of Anak-UPMin coalition of UP Mindanao, said she joined the protest as she finds it revolting that the family of Janet Napoles, the woman involved in the bogus NGOs that siphoned 10 billion pesos from PDAF, is bragging their luxurious lifestyle.
“Hindi magandang tingnan na nagpaparty lang at bumibili ng mamahaling gamit ang anak ni Napoles samantalang milyun-milyong kabataan ang hindi man lang makakuha ng dekalidad na edukasyon (It was disgusting to see Napoles’ daughter partying and buying luxurious things while there are many youths who couldn’t afford quality education).”
For Kenneth Nabo, spokesperson of Anakbayan Univeristy of Mindanao, this event was successful. “Kadtong mga ubang pundok nga naa diri nisuporta nga mosupak sa pork barrel, nasinati nila nga isa ni ka dako nga isyu (There are other groups here that support the call to abolish the pork barrel. They know this is a big issue in the country).”
He also added that “dakong pangutana gikan sa mga tao nganong dili man gyud I abolish sa presidente ang pork barrel og gi-ilisan lang ang dagway ani (the big question which the people ask is why the President himself won’t abolish the pork barrel and why he only changed its form).”
Social media played its role in spreading the issue of the pork barrel and calls for mass protests. In Davao, journalists hurriedly posted a Facebook page Million People March Davao that had close to 700 people who confirmed to join the rally, and many expressed their disgusts on widespread corruption existing under President Aquino’s daang matuwid administration.
In the page, people expressed their anger and calls for change, such as Gylord Mason who posted “Unti-unting pagbabago ay hindi masama..tulungan natin ang bansang ibangun muli mula sa pagkakabaon sa putik na pinag-gulungan ng PORK BARREL. (Gradual change is not bad, let us help our country rise from the quagmire of pork barrel).”
Angel Achacoso Bisares said “Honestly, gusto ko rin makita ang totoong daang matuwid (I want to see the real righteous path)!” (Earl O.Condeza/davaotoday.com)education budget, education budget-cut, health budget, pdaf, philippines annual budget, pork barrel