01647: Social Media Discontent Will Not Stop The Pork Barrel

So I didn't got to work last night. I wasn't feeling too well and the weather certainly wasn't at all encouraging. We seem to be caught in this weird cycle of fierce, intense rains for a few minutes alternating with moments of relative drizzling calm. Just when you relax and think that things are truly getting better, the rains pick up again and the cycle repeats once more. It's pretty nerve-wracking.

But things do seem to be on the mend and I foresee the weather will be much better before the week is over. But I'm no weatherman of course - at the end of the day we just hope for the best.

As things do return to a relative sense of normalcy, people are trying to raise the banner anew against the rampant corruption in government as evidenced by the massive PDAF scam that's all over the news these days. And the call to action now leads us to the discussions of the supposed Million Filipino March at Luneta for people to show their anger over the abuse of public funds. And whether it's the traffic situation or our lack of an actual drainage system that is capable of handling the number of people in Metro Manila and the surrounding areas, there's a lot of problems that could have been better addressed with more funding.

Now I totally agree with the general sentiment - the pork barrel system has only proven itself to be a system of corruption and it should have been junked ages ago. However there is no real motivation for any of our politicians to give up this lucrative source of personal funding - something that has been expressed by the President himself!

Now the supposed protest action on August 26 is supposed to be a somewhat spontaneous social media idea that is trying to gather steam over the next few days. Tagging the event as a million person march is a major stretch given the many different Facebook Pages and Events that address the issue have difficulties getting to 10,000 Likes or event participants. And while there are under 3 million Facebook users who list Metro Manila as their current location, I don't see the level of engagement needed for this to be successful. Plus on the logistical side, the lack of a true organizing group means that no one is even processing the necessary paperwork to get permits to protest or demonstrate at Luneta. And that's even assuming one can figure out which event page represents the "official" protest event. There are already alternate events for biking against PDAF or just holding solidarity gatherings on the same day, which only thins the number of potential participants.

There's a weird sense within Metro Manila that social media opinions reflect the majority somehow. We know that's categorically not true, especially given majority of the country does not have regular access to the internet, what more time to waste on social media websites. Plus there's the fact that the protest is scheduled for a Monday, which thankfully is a national holiday. As people may want to join, going means skipping out on work and holiday premiums. And while this does have the desired effect of trying to make the protest have a larger impact on things, your minimum wage worker will not make that decision to skip their shift easily, especially when going to work on that day means more money than usual.

Yes, something needs to be done to stop this horrible institution of corruption. However I don't think it's going to involve rushing to haphazardly put together a protest action on Monday nor will it involve one million selfies or flooding the Twitter accounts of politicians. The wheels of government and law move very slowly, but we need to work with these methods at the moment. In the meantime, someone needs to make the case to the greater majority of the country, and that education campaign will not happen on Facebook.