The Philippines’ Million People March

Abolish Pork Barrel: Fight for Better Public Services

It has almost been a week since the Million People March in Luneta, here in Manila in the Philippines. The Million People March took its name from the 1995 Million Man March movement that fought for African-Americans’ civil rights.  The Million People March was prompted by the widespread anger against the intricate system of corruption in the government. Simply put, people got angry as the taxes they paid were misused by some government officials for selfish gains in collaboration with fugitives.

MillionPplMarch - Facebook Page

The Million People March was also the Philippines’ first social-media lead protest. In 1986, the late Cardinal Jaime Sin called on people to go to EDSA via Radyo Veritas. In 2001, calls to go to EDSA to fight for the resignation of then-President Estrada were mainly done via SMS. This 2013, the calls for a mass protest was posted on Facebook.

Below is a gallery of photos I took from the protest. Click the photos to enlarge.

Other similar protests were held around the Philippines and in several cities around the United States, in Europe and some parts of Asia, especially where many Filipinos work.

Since then, many of us have gone back to our ordinary lives. I for one, took a long time before I could post as I was busy with work. But the indignation has not ceased, and I pray that public interest in political issues will remain strong until there is notable systemic change. The fugitive Janet Lim Napoles has been captured and is in jail now, but many remain unsatisfied and are even wary of what is happening. Like many others, I doubted her surrender because of the events that have followed and the treatment she is getting. Sure we want to keep her alive and safe so we can get more information out of her, but it doesn’t mean she needs to be cared for that way. A few of the politicians implicated in the scam are even participating in the Blue Ribbon Committee hearing on the issue! Everything at this point still seems so self-serving and is disappointing.

And because of this we will remain vigilant. We will continue working our butts off for ourselves and families, we will continue doing our best to become good Filipino citizens by helping our communities become better, but we will not blink our eyes and turn our heads away from the issue.

We will be watching.

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