Pork Barrel Issue Brings Thousands Out to Protest in Philippines

Image: Pork Barrel Issue Brings Thousands Out to Protest in Philippines

Monday, 26 Aug 2013 06:04 PM

By Morgan Chilson

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Thousands of Filipinos turned out to protest the issue of a pork barrel fund thanks to social media posts encouraging people to participate in cities throughout the country.

Angry that money was being used from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to support inappropriate projects, many of which turned out to not even exist, Business World Online said, people started promoting a rally on social media to take place Aug. 26, on the country’s National Heroes Day.

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Protests were held all over the Philippines, with 60,000 people turning out wearing pig masks and carrying signs in one park in Manila, Business World said. Most of the protesters want the PDAF system dismantled; the country’s president, Benigno Aquilo, had offered to revamp the system.

Issues with the PDAF system came to light after a state audit and a series of newspaper articles identified misused funds. Particularly targeted is Janet Lim Napoles, a businesswoman highlighted by the articles and accused of working with legislators to pull $10 billion from PDAF. She apparently has gone into hiding and is wanted on charges of “illegal detention of a whistle-blower,” Business Weekly reported.

The Sun Star reported that a manifesto signed by many on Monday said, “We are calling for the immediate abolition of the pork barrel system in the country after it has clearly become the worst example of immoral and wanton use of public funds that should have resulted to real, concrete and sustainable socio development especially in the countryside.”

Rappler.com made live updates on a blog dedicated to the Million People March, as many online called the planned protest.

In an article about the protest, the website quoted signs carried and comments made throughout the event, and reported that protesters ranged from nuns to students to businessmen. Signs said “Abolish pork barrel” and “Change the culture of political patronage.”

“The Filipino people are now modern. Proof is the million people march that we can't be fooled by our leaders anymore,” Rappler.com reported that a protester tweeted from the rally.

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