MANILA, Philippines–The “EDSA Tayo” organizers on Wednesday declared the interfaith prayer rally calling for the complete abolition of the graft-tainted Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel a “success.”
Junep Ocampo, the convenor of the non-political protest at the Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue Shrine on Ortigas Avenue, said that instead of harboring anger because of the issue, they became “very hopeful.”
“[The ‘Edsa Tayo’ rally] was a success and it will continue. We, Filipinos, are hopeful as long as we are together studying and solving the issue,” he said.
Despite holding the peaceful protest on a regular work day, the crowd estimate met the expected number of participants, who confirmed their attendance in the official Facebook event page of the “Edsa Tayo” rally, based on Ocampo’s personal assessment.
“The capacity of the church (Mary Queen of Peace Shrine) was only 700. But during the Mass, the church was filled with about 1,000 people. Outside the shrine, our estimate was 4,000 meaning a total of 5,000,” he explained.
Ocampo said that most Filipino tend to keep their sentiments to themselves but the emergence of social media as their outlets made the voices of millions of angered people against the pork barrel system heard.
The “EDSA Tayo” rally, similar to the 100,000-strong “Million People March” at Rizal Park, was established and organized in the social media.
“Let us just say what’s inside of us and God will definitely hear us,” he said.
What’s after ‘Edsa Tayo’
Laying down their plans after the successful vigil, Ocampo said they are planning to circulate a chain vigil, “Panalangin sa Pagbuwag sa Sistema ng Pork Barrel,” which he and his team uploaded in the “EDSA Tayo” Facebook event page.
He read the prayer in Filipino during the candle-lighting part of the program.
Reaching out to all sectors, Ocampo also noted that they would come up with study guides featuring basic facts on the pork barrel disbursements, the Philippine budgeting system, and definition of technical terms.
“I want this issue to be understood by ordinary people, even elementary students, so they would also realize that how big their part is in this [PDAF misuse] issue,”
As planned, the program was peacefully commenced at exactly 4 p.m.