Why Friday's protest vs pork can be bigger than ever
Scrap Pork Network wants ‘citizen’s audit’ of pork funds
MANILA -- Pundits have criticized the first Million People March as a mere one-time action against the pork scam, but the recent goings on in politics have prompted both new and old and unaffiliated to further take action.
In a preview of things to come, the second Million People March on Friday will finally show the personalities involved in the pork scam who they are up against.
The “organizers” of the Luneta event last August 26 have finally come together to form a network that will see to it that the voice of the people will be heard. They are now called the Scrap Pork Network.
“The Scrap Pork Network is not an organization, which is a pyramid in nature. This time, the network is composed of organizations and even individuals who have started as unaffiliated,” Scrap Pork Network spokesperson Patricia “Peachy” Tan told ABS-CBNnews.com on Tuesday night.
She knows too well how some mass actions have excluded or even offended some people. Tan herself has not been a regular face in mass actions, except for a few when she was in college or during the impromptu mobilizations during the so-called EDSA 2.
This corruption “embedded in the system” is closer to the gut, and only a common and loud voice from the people can spur the government to take action, she said.
Tan, who like everyone else saw on social media the brewing action in Luneta, volunteered herself to another unwitting organizer, Peachy Rallonza Bretaña, to include her in the logistics work for the first Million People March.
She said she had experience in events coordination and could help ensure that security and permits will be in place by August 26. With the help of Tan, other volunteers and some organizations, not one scuffle or garbage was seen during the event.
“I thought it would be the last,” said Tan, who was already raring to go back to work.
She was wrong.
President Benigno Aquino III scrapped the priority development assistance fund (PDAF), but not the entire pork. Little by little, the pieces of the puzzle have emerged that will complete the whole corrupt system. Today, questions have also arisen against what others called as presidential pork – the Disbursement Acceleration Program.
Tan thought there is more to be done against the problem.
“The problem of corruption has become institutionalized…we need to take action, not just to punish the offenders, but to ensure that the next leaders will not be corrupt too,” she said.
Several times, they have been put down by political pundits. But the Scrap Pork Network has become a force to be reckoned with, not just on the streets but also on social media.
Activists groups have joined the network and so have several personalities in the business and political fronts.
The organizers of Edsa Tayo have also joined forces with the Million People March organizers.
During a meeting for the creation of the Scrap Pork Network, the unaffiliated Tan thought she would easily be bullied by the more organized groups. “But they were friendly, they were ready to listen, they did not dominate the conversation,” she said.
She believes this coming together is something perpetrators of corruption can’t just pull down. While strategists know how to handle the left, for example, the face of mass action has become color-less.
She added that the fight is not against personalities, but against the system.
On Friday, the Million People March will go to Makati to include more people.
“We wanted to provide a venue for the unaffiliated, so that they can join us,” she said.
Makati is also considered the biggest taxpayer, with big businesses holding office there. “We also want to call out to big businesses to also make a stand. Corruption affects the investment climate,” she said.
Tan remains mum on what could be the major call of the group on Friday, hoping only that this could snowball and create big changes.
She revealed, however, that they will call for a citizen’s audit. “The [Commission on Audit] is focused on the financial aspect of it. Wala nagtatanong, may gumagamit ba talaga ng kalye [where the public money was spent]? Kailangan ba talaga ng waiting shed? 'Yung project ba nag-e-exist?” she explained.
But she admitted that they are still figuring out how to go about the citizen’s audit. “The focus right now is to get the citizens to join us,” she said.
The Million People March will start at 3 p.m. at the Ayala corner Paseo de Roxas. A program will follow at 5 p.m., where several personalities including former National Treasurer Leonor Briones, Church leaders and Justice stakeholders will commit to “scrap pork.”
Performers include Lolita Carbon, Cookie Chua, Bayang Barrios, Jograd dela Torre, Darryl Shy and others.
Tan also asked those who will join to bring candles given the overall theme of “ilawan ang tuwid na daan.”
She also encouraged those in their homes or abroad to join in the candle-lighting.