Rizal Park, Davao City – With the battle cry “Ouch P-Noy, managot, sumagot, kung hindi lagot!” citizens, students, and leaders from all over the city gathered to celebrate the 116th Anniversary of Philippine Independence with a protest coalition geared towards the abolishment of the pork barrel.
“Natutong lumaban dahil sa kahirapan!” the crowd shouted in unison, raising red and black flags of the various activist groups they represented.
In an interview, Leon Bolcan, chairperson of Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap expressed his dismay over the celebration of Independence Day. According to Bolcan, it is ironic that Filipinos are celebrating Independence Day yet fail to realize that we do not truly own our sovereignty anymore.
“President Ninoy sold it to the Americans,” he said. He further added that the latter took advantage of the crises that the Philippines is experiencing and that Bonifacio’s ideal of a revolution is to be considered.
Atty. Romeo T. Cabarde, Jr., chairman of the University Community Engagement and Advocacy Council (UCEAC) gave a speech during the event.
“The Pork Barrel scam robs the nation of justice,” Cabarde said.
Regel Asuero, current SAMAHAN president, also voiced out his support towards the cause.
“Patuloy kong hinihikayat ang kapwa kong kababayan at kabataan na isabuhay ang laban na ito hanggang sa makamit natin ang totoong kahulugan ng kalayaan,” Asuero said.
Nur Jannah Kaalim, Deputy Secretary General for Mindanao of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines, proudly shouted, “Magsulat, magmulat, makibaka!”
Hadji Balajadia, faculty of Ateneo de Davao exclaimed, “Jail them all!” referring to every politician and staff involved in the pork barrel leaving no room for exceptions.
The event ended with a community candle-lighting ceremony, and a prayer by Rev. Dann Pantoja of PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. (PBCI)