Provinces hold anti-pork rallies
MANILA – Filipinos in different parts of the country held anti-pork barrel rallies Monday to show their support to the participants of the "Million People March" in Manila.
In Cebu, some 10,000 protesters from various sectors converged at the Fuente Osmeña Rotonda and marched their way to Plaza Independencia, making the province one of the major points of protest outside Metro Manila where hundreds of thousands aired their rejection of the funds allocated to lawmakers.
Hundreds of protesters also trooped to town centers in different provinces: Plazoleta Gay in Iloilo, Pinaglabanan Monument in Albay, Plaza Pershing in Zamboanga City, Capitol Park and Lagoon in Bacolod City, Burnham Parik in Baguio City, Plaza Rizal and Oragon in Naga City, and Freedom Park in Davao City.
Church leaders join protests
Church leaders were also present in protest actions in some provinces like Tuguegarao in Cagayan where Father Gary Agcaoili led a text brigade to amplify calls from the capital to join the nationwide movement.
Agcaoili said he expected more from President Benigno Aquino III, who earlier announced the scrapping of the pork barrel in favor of a new and stricter way of distribution of funds.
Protests pushed through today despite the announcement, with protesters calling for the total abolition of the pork barrel funds or the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
The event in Cagayan began with a brief program in front of San Jacinto Church at around 8 o'clock on Monday morning, followed by a march from Patio of Ermita de San Jacinto to Rizal Park in Barangay 9.
Joining the march were bikers, religious leaders, church workers, several members of the academe, students, businessmen, as well as employees and officials of the local government unit of Tuao, Cagayan.
Meanwhile, in Pangasinan, incoming Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president Socrates Villegas joined the protesters to show his support for the eradication of corruption in the pork barrel.
Villegas said those behind the pork barrel scam must be brought to justice, and that the public must be more vigilant.
Ateneo de Naga University President Fr. Primitivo Viray Jr. also supported today's protest, saying the fight against corruption does not end in today's activity.
Zumba vs pork
Various protesters also expressed their rejection of pork barrel through various activities.
In Davao City, several protesters participated in a "Zumba" rally at the Rizal Park along San Pedro Street.
Meanwhile, a 5-kilometer run was held in Cagayan de Oro City with the participants holding various anti-pork messages.
CDO Archbishop Antonio Ledesma also participated in the run.
In Pampanga, some 600 bikers toured parts of the province carrying banners showing support for the abolition of pork barrel.
The bikers began their parade from Angeles, going to San Fernando City, Mexico, and Magalang. – reports from dzMM; dzmm Harris Julio, Danjo Revilla, Ada Sibayan, Michelle Soriano, Mitch Lipa, Rod Bolivar, Jewel Reyes, Rona Nunez, Cris Zuniga, and Jonathan Magistrado, ABS-CBN Regional Network Group