With the recent turn of events, I would like to unload a few thoughts about the PDAF Hullaballoo. Yes, I’m using that word to don a lighter dress to it.
So I went to the Rizal Park last Monday to participate in the #MillionPeopleMarch. For those who aren’t aware what this was, it’s a movement started by enraged netizens to express their condemnation of the pork barrel scam and for several groups to push for its abolition. The campaigns were done for a peaceful rally, with no strict “program” or “schedule” and just go there and represent your group.
Most of my friends mentioned they would go so I went there alone. True enough, as soon as I stepped out of the car, I saw two of my photographer friends snapping away. I arrived at around 9:10AM, and in a few minutes, people started pouring in. The noisiest, most prominent crowd was the group from the Ateneo de Davao University, led by their President, Fr. Tabora, SJ.
Million People March was such a great experience. I used to kid about not going to rallies because it would hurt my skin but really, the experience was so worth it. I hopped from one group to another, asking them how many they were and who they were with, and eventually settled on a shaded corner to talk about the entire ordeal. Here are a few thoughts:
Wow, the Young Ones Care
It was great to see that the rally was led by young people. I think more than half of the crowd was around 16-30 years old. Students, youth leaders and young professionals truly led the gathering. It was good to see this because the crowd wasn’t the Ra-Ra-Ra leftist kind, however, it was more peaceful and more well-represented. There were people from schools, Churches/ ministries, media outfits, NGOs and people from different walks of life.
The Heat was a Game Changer
Many people thought it was “sayang” because the pictures won’t depict a clearer number of the attendees during last Monday’s rally. You have to be there to see that there was around 2,000 people, only, they were clinging to where the shades where. And where were the shades? By the trees. At the side of the park. I seriously wanted to come up on stage and tell people to stay at the center for a few seconds, for the photographers to at least take a picture of. Haha. Also, if I owned a tent rentals company, I would sponsor that event. Free advertising + corporate social responsibility there, folks.
Many are Still Missing the Point
A lot of my friends went there for solidarity and to help “make a statement”. Some just stayed at home and “rallied” by being online. I still think a crowd of 2,000 was pretty bad, for Davao city, considering it’s a holiday. It takes very few scandals to warrant an urgency as that of EDSA and this was supposed to be one of those. We’ve always known people (officials and groups) were stealing from us. We just didn’t know how much. I think more people could have done more by being there physically. Also, I hope the ones there aren’t missing the point. They are still calling for the abolition of the PDAF or the pork barrel when I think what should be lobbied was more transparent transactions, to make biddings more public, to make it easier for people to report anomalies, et cetera. I think there shouldn’t be problems with collecting taxes for funds used for priority assistance, just make sure it gets to where it should. Currently, PNoy called for an indefinite PDAF release halt and this seemed as the perfect 1st step. The thing is, people are getting impatient.
We Should Practice Patience and Respect for Due Process
Due to massive use of social media and other high-tech promotional content in this protest, people got used to instant results. However, let us not expect the same from our government. I know this expose lessened our trust in our government but since everyone else is doing the face rubbing, I am encouraging you, dear reader, to keep a clear mind and help me promote due process in solving this predicament. For starters, check out this infographic to walk you through the due process of our government and NBI’s post-expose moves.
We play a huge role in the continuation of corruption in our country. Let’s face it: corruption happens when we let it. When we’re done with all the rallies and hashtag-laden campaigns, let us not forget how we can actively stop this, no matter how “small” we think our efforts are. Remember how anonymous people changed everything.