Ako ay naki-baka and said no to pork.

6:05 PM

I pay taxes because it is the right thing to do.
No matter how much or how little money I earn, the government gets a sizable chunk that it thinks it deserves. Moreover,  every time I eat out, watch a movie, or a fly out to a destination outside of the Philippine Area of Responsibility, I still have to pay some more tax.

And I have to confess, that it hurts.

It hurts because the simplest things but are such tell-tale signs of a good city – walkable sidewalks, well-tended foliage, and efficient public transportation system still seem to be an elusive dream for the country’s National Capital Region. It hurts because the last time I was speeding along EDSA at 60 Kph, I drove into a pothole and wrecked my car’s wheel alignment. It most especially hurt when one’s suspicion of perpetual cold-hearted corruption in the government is affirmed.

A couple of weeks ago, the latest tale of corruption in the national government headlined by a certain Janet Lim Napoles made the news. Click on the following links to read more about the story and on the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) aka Pork Barrel. 

1. Janet Napoles and the Pork Barrel Scam on inquirer.net                
2. Oink History: Spot.ph Pork Barrel Timeline on spot.ph

So last week, I together with two of my friends – Abe and Ket,  joined the #millionpeoplemarch at Luneta. It was a protest against the continuous allocation of funds to the each legislator’s PDAF fund.

I must say that joining the protest was such a pleasant experience. Sure, we were rather angry and frustrated with all the graft and corruption happening in the government. But this demonstration was something I would describe as quite orderly and had this pulsating positive vibe.

There were no jostling. People were respecting each other’s personal space. Though there were street food hawked around, there was the palpable absence of rubbish, goo, and unpleasant smells. It was such the ideal kind of demonstration.

Here are a few snapshots I took while at the millionpeoplemarch:

Some folks had their picture taken with the police force guarding the US Embassy. 
Manila Punk movement were there. 
I guess it pays to always dress up wherever you go.
Even kids took to the streets.
The Media was there to cover the event.

Red cross volunteers were on stand-by in case of emergencies. 
These kids want more than just abolishing the pork barrel.

No to pork but yes to dirty ice cream sandwich! 
This is just the sight - cops, clean portalets, and no queues.
Why hide in plain sight, boy? 
Some were there to pick up the recyclables. 
For some, the protest  was a family affair.
I signed the petition to abolish the PDAF. (But unfortunately was photo bombed by a certain manong.)
Ket adds her name to the list. 
Abe follows suit. 
These are what we want to happen. 

I am guessing he's a tennis fan. 
Protesters weren't all locals. There were some concerned foreigners, too!
These bikers came as pigs. 
Guess that doggie in a wash basin is also against pork?
The rubbish collected from the protest filled just a several bags!
At the end of last week, Janet Lim Napoles surrendered to President Noy Aquino and is now being detained. There were talks on using her as a state witness against the officials who went with her scam. But a rather brilliant lawyer argued that she couldn’t be since she appears to be the mastermind rather than just an accomplice, saying that Janet Lim Napoles benefited in this particular scam more than the officials who went on with it. She got the chunk while the legislators only had a percentage of the funds.

As it continually unfolds, I do hope all this drama would not quietly fade away but rather be a catalyst for better changes in Philippine Society. I pay taxes because it's the right thing to do but if our government officials don't do right with all my hard-earned money, that's enough reason for me to take it to the streets.

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