Anti-pork protesters fight ‘kapre’, ‘tikbalang’, ‘manananggal’ in gov’t

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MANILA -- The anti-pork barrel protesters took to the streets Wednesday afternoon the “three monsters of the government.”

 

In a pre-halloween parade dubbed as KataKURAKOTan, various groups have come together to create a “Manananggal,” “Tikbalang,” and “Kapre,” version of President Benigno Aquino III and his men – Budget Secretary Florencio Abad and Executive Secretary Francis Ochoa.

Cultural group Ugat Lahi member Cris de Leon told INQUIRER.net that these monsters were symbolical of the faces behind the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel controversy.

Since the pork barrel scam erupted with detained businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles as the alleged mastermind, a series of protests were staged to pressure the administration to abolish the pork barrel system and other discretionary funds.

Donning “blood-soaked” costumes, the protesters, who were estimated to be at least 500, began their march from Roxas Boulevard to the Senate in Pasay where they were stopped by security.

De Leon explained that as a “manananggal,” Abad sucked Filipino funds dry. A “manananggal” is a beautiful female during the day that turns into a half-bodied, flying creature with wild, flaming eyes and sharp teeth that preys on humans and eats their heart and liver

Ochoa is the “Tikbalang”, a character from Philippine folklore that is half-human and half-horse and supposedly leads its victims away from their paths, for “always deviating from the pork barrel issue,” according to the artist.

Lastly, Aquino and his three spokespersons – Edwin Lacierda, Abigail Valte and Ricky Carandang – are the “Smoking Kapre” and tiyanaks.

A kapre is a huge terrifying beast that lives on large trees or abandoned houses and is depicted as smoking a cigar that never burns out while a “Tiyanak” is an evil creature that begins its monstrous life as an aborted or dead fetus that wasn’t baptized before the burial and eats its victims’ inner organs and drinks their blood.

Neil Doloricon, one of the convenors of the Artista Kontra Korupsyon (AKKSYON), said, however, that the issue of corruption was “quite real and causing havoc and carnage on the people’s lives unlike the creatures of Filipino folklore.”

First of its kind

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan spokesperson Renato Reyes Jr. said the costume protests that the artists and anti-pork groups established was a first of its kind.

“We timed the protest just before the halloween because the pork barrel was a big monstrosity. The participants here are composed of either monsters, victims of monsters and ordinary citizens who demand for the abolition of pork,” Reyes said.

On Tuesday, the House of Representatives approved the P2.268-trillion 2014 national budget, eliminating the PDAF. But Reyes said that “beyond doubt that we cannot expect anything from the Congress or the Aquino administration when it comes to abolishing the pork barrel system.”

“While the PDAF has been removed, the new itemized pork will continue the tradition of patronage politics that has made our system so corrupt. Presidential pork will also continue to exist as lump sum appropriations,” he maintained.

“Still, they would want to maintain the pork barrel system even under a different name.”

 

Wisdom

The militant group spokesperson said he believes in the wisdom of former Chief Justice Reynato Puno when he proposed the people’s initiative to completely abolish pork.

In the people’s initiative law, signatures of at least 10 percent of the total number of registered voters must be gathered nationwide.

“The required number of signatures is too many but we do not see ordinary citizens in favor of pork that’s why I have my full trust to the people, that we can make this happen,” he said.

As the people’s initiative was supported by most groups, Reyes hopes that preparations for it will be made within this year.

These preparations include an educational campaign to make the people more knowledgeable on the cons of maintaining the discretionary funds in the national budget.

“If the administration thinks that the protests are over, they’re wrong. They’ll see us again in the streets on Novembers 7 and November 19.”

On November 7, the center of the billions-worth pork barrel scam Janet Lim-Napoles will face the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee as it resumes the probe into the misuseof public funds.

Meanwhile, the oral arguments on the Disbursement Acceleration Program and the Presidential Social Fund will continue in the Supreme Court on November 19. Inquirer.net