It had rained heavily the night before, so I was worried the event would be swamped with heavy downpour the next day.

But that day, the sky was quiet and gray, broken by occasional drizzle that only lasts for about two to three minutes. The clouds are pregnant with ripe rain, but the threat of a storm didn’t deter us, probably because we know we are brewing a storm of our own, probably a more powerful one.

It had been  weeks after the pork barrel scam erupts in the media, when a businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles was discovered to have been getting cozy with government officials as she diverts a P10 billion PDAF fund to her ‘ghost’ NGOs from prominent lawmakers. A following expose of the COA reveals that billions of pesos in PDAF are lost to imaginary NGOs, shady benefactors and at worst, ending up to the pockets of these politicians themselves.

Without getting any good, satisfying response from the government for the abolition of pork barrel, ordinary Filipinos, netizens and enraged taxpayers finally decided to settle the matter in their own hands. The date was set: August 26, National Heroes’ Day, as the Day of Protest for the abolition of the controversial PDAF.

What fascinates me in it when I first heard of the Million People March is that, every province in every corner of the Philippines, would be marching in that same day too, albeit in their respective areas but calling for the same thing: A change for the country. From Manila, to Cebu, to Davao, to Iloilo, Bacolod, Samar, etc and to other countries as well, when OFWs lead the protest themselves. It was a nation united by outrage, by disgust and by the desire to change the system prevailing over the country. At that instant, the 7000 islands of the Philippines are finally united and connected by an invisible bridge: social media.  And I have been a proud part of it. I came here as a correspondent for a national broadsheet and as a concerned citizen who will march and shout for my parents who have been working hard but getting burdened by tax. For my OFW relatives who have to live a lonely life abroad and leaving an incomplete, dysfunctional family behind. For thousands of unschool youth who are surrounded by locked doors of opportunity and ambition. For poor farmers and fishermen toiling hard but ending up with nothing. For rural villages who have to live without a daily supply of electricity everyday. For public hospitals which always witness the daily deaths of those who cannot afford high-quality facilities. For state universities who are unable to provide the needs of its students and have to resort to income-generating scheme just to make both ends meet. I am marching to commemorate the heroism of our ancestors, but also to call out a brighter future for the new generation of Filipinos who never have to hate and despise the country just like I did in the past before accepting it as a part of who I am.

The color code for the March was white. A friend told me it’s a symbolism. White symbolizes Tabula Rasa, a sociological concept explaining that our mind is a blank slate when we were born. It is devoid of ideas, ideologies, emotions, biases, prejudices and any thought that makes us who we are right now. White symbolizes cleaning off all the dirt and starting again with a clean slate; with total overhaul of the system and starting anew. Isn’t it about time this culture of corruption and mediocrity has to end?

There were chants and patriotic hymns, shouts and boos matching with ‘oink oink’ noise thumbing down the system. It was the first organized rally I ever attended, and the largest gathering so far started by the social media. Just like the student I interviewed during the march, I knew change won’t happen overnight. Continuity, according to him, is the key. Now that we have started the fire, let us sustain it, keep it alive and burning. This #MillionPeopleMarch is just the beginning, hopefully not the end.

With social media, we are given the power to influence and to inspire, one thing our parents and grandfathers didn’t have when they toppled a dictator almost three decades ago. What does it make us? Are we the generation doomed to inherit the system or the one who will change it? Are we capable of thinking beyond ourselves and overcome the stigma of being the ‘selfie‘ generation, or we would just leave the society as it is?

It will be a long journey ahead, and just like the muddy and slippy grounds of Quirino Grandstand that day, getting across to our destination wouldn’t be easy. The corrupt system stands before us like an impenetrable ancient wall, one that has stood all struggles and opposition in the past. It won’t crumble down in one snap. Just like the walls of Jericho, we need to circle the matter and never stop on making more ‘noise’.

And that horn? Social media.

Let’s stand by what we fought in Luneta that day. We want to abolish the system. We want a more transparent and more accountable government. We want those politicians who are guilty with their greediness to be locked up in the darkest, grimiest cell in Bilibid. We want FOI. We want a president who never falls short on his promise. We want a real change. We want a new Philippines NOW!


About sentimentalfreak

Consistently inconsistent. Forever searching and wandering. 'Tis only writing that calms down her restless little soul.

Posted on August 26, 2013, in Filipino, It's More Fun in the Philippines, My country, rant, reflections and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I will 🙂 There’s no stopping this!

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