26 August 2013

[FYI in Manila Standard Today] Rally takes on varied colors: red, white, blue

by Christine F. Herrera

The colors of the Scrap the Pork Barrel Movement—red, white, blue and a touch of yellow—will festoon the Rizal Partk today amid forecasts of a rainstorm.

The majority in the crowd will come in white as they are politically unaffiliated with any group in the political spectrum.

The Luneta march, dubbed “A Million People March” against the pork barrel, has spontaneously snowballed following a single call: that President Benigno Aquino III give up his own P1-trillion pork barrel if he is sincere in his promise of transparency.

“I am just so outraged by these officials pocketing the taxpayers’ money that I did not find any reason to join any group,” said Pat Punzalan, a salon trainer, who carries a twitter handle @supsup010.

“I will go to Luneta, wearing white to express my outrage and be counted as one of the concerned taxpayers who denounce corruption and demand transparency in governance.”

Punzalan said he would bring Arroz Valenciana to share with equally concerned taxpayer-friends.

No one claims to have organized the rally, so  that all groups were surprised to see one another in a meeting called by the police top brass. Some 3,000 policemen will be deployed to the Luneta to ensure peace and order.

One group leader, Renato Reyes of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, warned against infiltrators and saboteurs who might disrupt the rally that he said would be peaceful.

Reyes had to make a disclaimer on Wednesday after word got around that the protesters would march on the Palace to demand Aquino’s ouster after the protest rally.

Elizabeth Angsioco, national president of the Democratic Socialist Women of the Philippines, protested the theme “A million Men March,” insisting that many women would join the rally. Hence the theme was changed to “A Million People March.”

Angsioco’s group will also wear white.

Some groups were demanding an explanation from the Black and White Movement and Kaya Natin, who are now presidential allies.

But the Akbayan party-list, a close ally of the President, said it would mobilize 500 bikers to join the rally.

The Right to Know Right Now coalition and the FYI [FOI Youth Initiative] said they would be joining the rally  to push the Freedom of Information bills.

Ousted Chief Justice Renato Corona will make his first public appearance following his impeachment and will be wearing red. He said the President owed the public the details of his P1-trillion pork barrel.

The allies of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will be wearing blue.

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