Around 500 people converged at Rizal Boulevard in Dumaguete City yesterday to join the nationwide call for the scrapping of the controversial pork barrel, or the Priority Development Assistance Fund, of congressmen and senators.
While the activity in Dumaguete was a far cry from the livelier and boisterous rallies in Manila, Cebu and other parts of the country, those who attended expressed similar sentiments against the pork barrel that they described as a source of corruption in government.
Wearing white shirts and carrying placards and white balloons, the protest activity gathered people from all walks of life who simply wanted to “see and be seen”.
Some local government officials were also spotted at the rally site but were not allowed to speak to avoid tainting the activity with political color.
They said they went there not as politicians but as individual taxpayers joining the others in expressing their outrage against the P10-billion pork barrel scandal that hit the Aquino administration.
Protesters also signed a tarpaulin petition that called for the abolition of the pork barrel, and were asked to fill out a petition campaign to be sent to Malacañang.
Assistant Provincial Administrator Arnel Francisco said he went there on his own to support the protest activity as well as to represent Gov. Roel Degamo.
Fr. Burton Villarmente of the Social Action Center of the Diocese of Dumaguete said there is need for the Church to get involved in the protest rally and that the abolition of the pork barrel is long overdue.
Only a small portion of the pork barrel funds get implemented for their intended projects, so corruption sets in, he added.
He said it is part of the advocacy of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines-National Secretariat for Social Action to campaign against corruption in government.*JFP
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