MANILA, Philippines – Small groups, students and vendors slowly fill the area around EDSA Shrine just before the anti- pork barrel prayer vigil.
In one corner, an old man wearing a sandwich board weeps.
Rogelio Palad, a 69-year old retired businessman, said he went to Manila all the way from Cabanatuan City to protest the abuse of public funds.
With an inhaler in one hand, Palad said this was the first time he joined a protest rally. He called on President Benigno Aquino III to stop officials from stealing the people’s money.
Meanwhile, high school student John Robert Go said they were encouraged to go to EDSA to cover for the campus paper but were also supportive of the calls to scrap the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or the “pork barrel”.
Many vendors also litter around the area, selling their regular wares and the occasional anti-pork shirts.
There was a slight tension between police and the Sentro ng Magkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa when the group refused to put down its banner even after it was told to do so by the law enforcers. The streamer was put down eventually.
Earlier in the day, police also stopped a group called Socialista-Quezon City chapter from unfolding their streamers since the event was a prayer vigil and not a political rally.
As of posting time, police estimate the crowd to be around 300.