From Switzerland to Saudi Arabia, Filipinos protest pork barrel, too
MANILA, Philippines—From one of the world’s major centers of international diplomacy, Geneva, to the deserts of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, migrant Filipinos are making their voices heard.
By simply posting protest photos on Facebook or holding their own “picnic” to coincide with the nationwide march Monday in the Philippines, overseas Filipinos express their indignation over the alleged massive misuse of taxpayers’ money in Congress.
Junar Elmedo, supervisor and trainer at Crane and Heavy Equipment Operator, posed with fellow Filipinos at a construction site in Dammam, Saudi Arabia to protest the pork barrel fund.
“Even through that photograph we’d like to show our opposition and demand to abolish the pork barrel,” Elmedo told INQUIRER.net, explaining that holding protest actions is banned in the Islamic kingdom.
Almer Casio of the Facebook group Filipino Friends In Saudi Arabia posted a photo too of placard-bearing Filipinos in Riyadh.
“As a show of support of our compatriots in Saudi for the widespread call to junk the pork barrel,” the caption of the photograph read.
In Bangkok, Thailand, a group of about 25 Filipinos turned what was initially planned to be a welcome party to a gathering to demand for the abolition of the pork barrel system, the arrest, prosecution and conviction of alleged pork barrel scam brains Janet Napoles and her accomplices, and the passage of the Freedom of Information Act that will enable citizens to engage and ensure accountable governance.
“We demand justice for Filipinos who have been duped of their money, especially poor Filipinos who, in fact, are the majority of taxpayers, paying indirect taxes and allocating a big percentage of their meagre incomes for the cost of public services. They have been robbed of the chance to lift themselves out of poverty,” Lan Mercado told INQUIRER.net.
The Bangkok-based Filipinos expressed their disgust over “the failure of those in power to address the bane of corruption. We are dissatisfied with President Benigno Aquino’s lack of decisive leadership to resolve the massive misuse of public funds through the pork barrel system.”
In Geneva, Switzerland, a group of migrant Filipinos gathered at Lac Léman for the “End The Pork Solidarity Picnic” on Sunday.
In San Francisco, California, Filipino veterans and widows kicked off their protest Friday in front of the Philippine Consulate, Gel Santos Relos, news anchor of ABS-CBN’s “Balitang America” said in her Facebook post.
Ago Pedalizo, member of the Justice for Filipino-American Veterans , handed to the consulate a demand letter calling for complete abolition of the pork fund, prosecution of the guilty parties, sequestration of properties of all grafters, and for Aquino to divest himself of the presidential pork to set an example, Relos said.
Similar action is set to be held in Los Angeles and New York.
In Hong Kong, Canada, and other parts of the world, Filipinos are also taking action against the pork barrel system.