Some 100 advocates for environmental health and justice today linked arms with other citizens in Luneta for the “Million People March” to denounce the corruption-plagued pork barrel system.
Brandishing walis tingting (coconut midriff broomsticks) and a green banner that says “linisin ang lipunan sa basura, toksiko at katiwalian” (clean up the society of garbage, toxic and corruption), the contingent of environmentalists gathered at the carabao statue fronting Rizal Monument then merged with the other protestors.
“We have come here to add our voice to those seeking to end corruption in the government as exemplified by the nauseating and shameless looting of the pork barrel funds,” said Aileen Lucero, Acting National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.
“Today, we join the rest of the country in shouting ‘enough is enough,’ sweep out corruption that is blighting the quality of the people’s lives, the economy and environment,” she said.
"By being united like the coconut midriffs tied together, we can reclaim the power that we, the people, have entrusted to crooked public officials and triumph over the systemic fraud and corruption enslaving the nation,” she said.
By wielding the walis tingting, the humble implement used in daily household cleaning, the EcoWaste Coalition would like to get these two points across:
1. We need to clean the dirt and grime that have seeped into the entire government through the pork barrel system and uphold transparency and accountability in the management of public funds.
2. We cannot allow the pork barrel scam to be swept under the rug and that a truthful, speedy and transparent investigation should lead to the prosecution and punishment of all scammers involved.
Among the environmental groups that came over to Luneta for the historic “Million People March” were the EcoWaste Coalition, Arugaan, Ban Toxics, Buklod Tao, Cavite Green Coalition, Eco-Marino, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Greenpeace, Health Care Without Harm, Mamamayan Ayaw sa Aerial Spraying, November 17 Movement, Papawis Lang Cycling Club, Sagip Pasig Movement, Samahang Muling Pagkabuhay-Smokey Mountain and Zero Waste Philippines.
The EcoWaste Coalition had earlier condemned the reported embezzlement of some P10-B pork barrel funds, lamenting that such a huge sum of money could have eased, if not provided enduring solutions, to the country’s waste and toxic problems.
“The plundered funds could have assisted our communities in raising public awareness and participation in the ecological management of discards that has proven benefits of reducing the volume of garbage for disposal to the least,” the EcoWaste Coalition said.
The misused funds could have also helped the government in meeting the objectives of Republic Act 9003, the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, particularly the required closure, cleanup and rehabilitation of polluting dumpsites that should have ceased operations way back in February 2006.