On July 12, when the Philippine media exposed the Pork Barrel scam, the nation was stirred to anger and confusion. The people’s money was misappropriated from what was meant to be a Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to result in a multi-billion peso fraud. Even without any designated leaders, social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter were littered with alerts to galvanize anti-corruption protesters.
On August 26th, 2013, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators assembled at Luneta Stadium. Most were dressed in white to reflect the non-partisan nature of the peaceful protest. The gathering drew people from all walks of life-from the “Alliance of Concerned Teachers”, who raised banners with “The Ten Billion Peso Pork Barrel Can Hire 86,234 New Teachers” to a group of Filipino-American friends wearing shirts and carrying signs that read, “Junk Pork Barrel”.
However the most popular phrase of the day was, “Makibaka, Wag Mangbaboy”, roughly translated to mean, “Fight, Don’t Be a Pig”. This is also a play on words as “baka” in Tagalog means cow. The alternative, more humorous translation is, “Be a cow, don’t be a pig”
Although the march did not reach the one million people mark, the message was clearly heard and the event was successful as this was the first time the Filipinos united for a single largest mass cause since the election of Noynoy Aquino in 2010.
Written and Photographed by: Chantal Marauta and Candice Hodges