Anti-pork rally in Fuente
There will be no road closure for today’s anti-pork barrel rally at the Fuente Osmeña Circle at 6 p.m. but be ready for heavy traffic in uptown Cebu City.
The rally dubbed “911 Rescue the Nation” was issued a permit for use of the park from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. by Cebu City Hall’s Parks and Playgrounds Commission.
“There will be singing. It will be spontaneous. A comical skit is also in the offing. And lots of praying,” said Stella Palomo Monteño, a hotel manager who applied for the permit with Abby Canturias representing the Scrap the Pork Barrel Movement.
The activity, a follow-up of the Aug. 26 march-rally at Plaza Independencia and the Million People March at Luneta, will feature a Power Point presentation of what the pork barrel or Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) is all about, she said.
Monteño earlier created a Facebook page inviting citizens to take a stand by gathering at the Fuente Osmeña Circle for a rally and signing a petition for the abolition of all forms of pork barrel.
The earlier Aug. 26 rally was organized by individuals and the Movement for a Livable Cebu, and drew 3,000 people for a rally at Plaza Independencia with no set program and discouraged speeches.
But this time, said Monteño, individuals will be allowed to air their sentiments and will have a chance to speak for three minutes in tonight’s rally.
The Archdiocesan Discernment Group led by Msgr. Romualdo Kintanar will also join the rally and lead the prayers.
Monteño said these efforts are not affiliated with the rally dubbed Edsa Tayo.
“Rumors are rife about this and our rally being financed by Marcos. No way. This rally is not backed by any president, ex-president, vice president, ex-vice president, cabinet members, senators or congressmen. This is 911 Rescue the Nation, not 911 which is linked to a terroristic attack on the twin towers in America. Not 9/11 as the birthday of Marcos. No way. We hope we are clear in this matter,” Monteño told Cebu Daily News.
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma said he is supporting the rally and that the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines expressed solidarity with today’s protest through the CBCP Pastoral Statement on the Pork Barrel.
“We call on all Filipinos of goodwill, especially among our Catholic faithful, not to stand idly by in this moment of truth. Let us be concerned and let this concern be manifested in our assidious search for the truth in the spirit of prayer and solidarity.,” said part of the CBCP statment.
Meanwhile, City Administrator Jose Marie Poblete issued a Sept. 5 memorandum asking City Hall department heads, heads of offices and employees to participate in today’s rally and to sign a nation-wide petition which will be launched in today asking the Senate and Congress to pass a new legislation for a 70/30 sharing scheme of the International Revenue Allotment (IRA) in favor of the local governments.
Rafael Yap, Citom office head, advised motorists to avoid the uptown area this afternoon because of a possible traffic congestion caused by the rally.
“We anticipate heavy traffic because it’s a Wednesday and traffic will already be heavy at the Redemptorist church area,” he said.
Citom has to prohibit parking at the park rotunda including pay parking bays in order to keep the traffic flowing.
Yap said he would have preferred Plaza Independencia as a larger venue “but rally organizers insisted on using Fuente Osmena,” said Ado Macaraya, head of the Parks and Playgrounds Commission.
He said rally organizers want to set up a stage with a generator set. They were told to give a donation which the commission will use to replace plants that may be damaged.
Senior Supt. Noli Romana, chief of the Cebu City Police Office said they will field personnel to assist traffic enforcers and maintain peace and order. /with report from Christine Emily L. Pantaleon
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