Philippines online activists call for protest march

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Pork barrel scandalAnger spreading through Facebook and other social media over alleged embezzlement of Philippines state funds has snowballed into calls for a rally expected to attract thousands, local media reported.

Calls for a “million people march” scheduled for August 26 began circulating on Facebook and Twitter about two weeks ago after reports of a scam involving the Priority Development Assistance Fund. The fund contains money allocated for lawmakers to be used in development projects. Critics see it as funding “pork barrel” projects which have traditionally been a source of corruption.

At the centre of the controversy is a woman who allegedly connived with legislators to siphon off some 233 million dollars from the fund.

“We demand transparency and accountability,” the organisers said in their online invitation on Facebook. “Abolish pork barrel.”

As of August 25 in the afternoon, nearly 18,000 people had said they would join marches culminating in what the organisers said would be a peaceful “picnic get together” in Luneta Park in central Manila. Activists in other cities have said they would hold simultaneous marches in support of the Manila protest. Various religious, professional, business and leftist organisations have also signified interest in joining the protest.

“We are aghast, disgusted and enraged at such a wanton display of shamelessness by those who we elected to serve and protect the people,” read a manifesto of support signed by some alumni of the elite Philippine Military Academy who are no longer on active duty.

“We cannot and we will not tolerate this any more even those from among our own,” it said.

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Reading Time: 1 minute

Anger spreading through Facebook and other social media over alleged embezzlement of Philippines state funds has snowballed into calls for a rally expected to attract thousands, local media reported.

Reading Time: 1 minute

Pork barrel scandalAnger spreading through Facebook and other social media over alleged embezzlement of Philippines state funds has snowballed into calls for a rally expected to attract thousands, local media reported.

Calls for a “million people march” scheduled for August 26 began circulating on Facebook and Twitter about two weeks ago after reports of a scam involving the Priority Development Assistance Fund. The fund contains money allocated for lawmakers to be used in development projects. Critics see it as funding “pork barrel” projects which have traditionally been a source of corruption.

At the centre of the controversy is a woman who allegedly connived with legislators to siphon off some 233 million dollars from the fund.

“We demand transparency and accountability,” the organisers said in their online invitation on Facebook. “Abolish pork barrel.”

As of August 25 in the afternoon, nearly 18,000 people had said they would join marches culminating in what the organisers said would be a peaceful “picnic get together” in Luneta Park in central Manila. Activists in other cities have said they would hold simultaneous marches in support of the Manila protest. Various religious, professional, business and leftist organisations have also signified interest in joining the protest.

“We are aghast, disgusted and enraged at such a wanton display of shamelessness by those who we elected to serve and protect the people,” read a manifesto of support signed by some alumni of the elite Philippine Military Academy who are no longer on active duty.

“We cannot and we will not tolerate this any more even those from among our own,” it said.

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