1000s of Filipinos in corruption protest

2013-08-26 11:56
Protesters run blindfolded to protest the recent pork barrel scandal in Manila. (File, AP)

Protesters run blindfolded to protest the recent pork barrel scandal in Manila. (File, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Manila - Tens of thousands of Filipinos protested in a Manila park on Monday to call for the scrapping of a corruption-tainted development fund that allows lawmakers to allocate government money for projects in their districts.

A government audit released 16 August found that $141m of the fund allocated over three years under the previous administration was released to questionable aid groups and ghost projects.

The scandal centred on a powerful businesswoman who allegedly collaborated with lawmakers in channelling some of the funds. She has gone into hiding after she was charged with illegal detention of a whistle-blower.

Local media reports of her lavish lifestyle have angered many ordinary taxpayers in the Southeast Asian country where nearly 28% of the 97 million people are extremely poor.

That prompted calls on social media for Monday's protest in Rizal Park, where more than 100 000 turned out including students, workers, priests and nuns. Police said there were around 60 000 protesters.

‘A few greedy individuals’

Similar protests were being held in a dozen other cities across the country, in New York and other cities where there are concentrations of Filipinos.

Some protesters carried placards saying "Senators, you should be ashamed of yourselves". Others wore masks with a picture of a pig's face, or shirts calling for the abolition of the fund.

Archbishop of Manila Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, speaking to the cheering crowd, urged all to show that the Filipino is honourable, to support policies that offer a way to heroism and to feel the heartbeat of the nation and the sufferings of the poor. The rally coincides with National Heroes Day.

"Let us also listen to the voice of God, especially in our conscience," Tagle added.

Activist-actress Mae Paner wore a pig's snout, a wig and a barrel around her body.

"I am being one with the millions of Filipinos who are saying no to pork," she said. "We all want to abolish the pork barrel system in our country."

Critics said President Benigno Aquino III's promise Friday to reform the system was not enough and all pork barrel funds must be abolished because they are prone to corruption.

Aquino, who has made fighting against corruption a centrepiece of his administration, said there was nothing "intrinsically wrong" with the system but it has been abused by "a few greedy individuals".

He vowed to prosecute those responsible for misusing the fund.

He said under the new system, legislators could still identify projects but they would need approval and would be closely scrutinized.

Aquino also issued guidelines to safeguard public funds, including the publication of bids and awarding of projects.

In his speech marking National Heroes' Day, Aquino reiterated his promise.

"We will do everything in our power to find those who conspired to take advantage of the PDAF's good intentions, and to hold them accountable," he added, referring to the Priority Development Assistance Fund.

Read more on:    benigno aquino iii  |  philippines

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


How to open a beer bottle without an opener

Do the right thing and never be thirsty again…


You won't want to miss...

WATCH: Man films himself going down water slide upside down as things go very wrong…
WATCH: Conor McGregor: Notorious the trailer
Best date night restaurants in South Africa
WATCH: Ryan Reynolds offers fans a free tattoo in new Deadpool 2 teaser
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.