By JOHN RIZLE L. SALIGUMBA & TYRONE A. VELEZ
DAVAO CITY—A live pig joined some 3,000 Davao personalities, students, journalists, netizens and ordinary folks who took advantage of the work holiday in the city’s version of Million People March against the pork barrel.
“This is not just a rally or movement of organizations,” said Sr. Consuelo Flauta OND, former chair of Sisters’ Association in Mindanao (SAMIN), “(M)any who came are individuals already fed up with the system, with how politicians are corrupting our money and taxes, and are not spending on people’s health and education.”
While some came straight to the rally at Rizal Park in San Pedro Street, a contingent marched from Freedom Park including nuns from SAMIN, Pagbabago Movement and the students and faculty of the Ateneo de Davao University led by its President, Fr. Joel Tabora SJ.
Fr. Tabora, who spoke during the rally, said “we deserve nothing but the absolute truth from our leaders in government. How are public funds being spent? Napoles has brought the “decaying rat” from the stinking closet into the open. She has exposed the dishonor in the pomp and ritual of the ’honorables’.”
A pig was also brought to the side of the stage where protesters posed with a thumbs-down sign.
Rally speakers also came from the Davao Association of Colleges and Schools, Pagbabago Movement, Assumption College of Davao, and Philippine Centrist for Democracy.
After the speeches, tambulan, reggae songs and zumba, personalities led by Tabora, Degala, Dr. Jack Estuart, Brother Karl Gaspar, AdDU Professor Cezar Billones, journalist Jon Joaquin signed a pledge of commitment tjat was read by Pagbabago convener Atty. Fatima Adin.
The crowd raised their right hand or their clenched fist to pursue more efforts and campaigns to fight for the abolition of PDAF and ensure accountability from government officials.
Tabora called for government spending “based on intelligent foresight, detailed budgetary planning, integrity, transparency, control, and accountability.”
Tabora challenged President Aquino to audit his own Special Purpose Funds worth PhP 449.95 billion.
“(This fund is) about a fifth of the entire P2.268 Trillion proposed in 2014 (budget). If news reports are to be believed, the DBM has failed to submit a report on how Malacañang spent its special purpose funds. Mr. President, this makes us, your BOSS, very uneasy,” Tabora said.
Sr. Noemi Degala SMSM, SAMIN executive secretary, also challenged Aquino to scrap the PDAF. “Where now is your daang matuwid (Righteous path) which is buried in this pork barrel scam?”
Tabora also said Aquino’s call for reforms such as strict auditing of the PDAF will not be enough as people are wary of this now.
“Pouring perfume on a stinking rat does not eliminate the rot. It is not the sweet perfume that wins, but the stench. We want change. Not just perfume based on the stinking rat,” he emphasized.
Robin Tongkwa, president of AdDU Samahan Central Board told Davao Today said they joined the march as they find the corruption “very appalling.”
“If there is no proper mechanism to audit the pork barrel, it is better to scrap it,” Tongkwa said.
The Samahan announced to fellow students to come in black as “a symbol of mourning how the people’s money is stolen,” a call widely heeded by students who came in huge turnout during Monday’s march.
Charisse Ronquillo, president of AdDU’s political group Buklat said the abolition of the pork barrel system will benefit the majority to prevent corruption of funds intended for social services. (John Rizle L. Saligumba & Tyrone A. Velez/ davaotoday.com)abolish pdaf, abolish pork barrel, million people march