Many of those going to the August 26 protest against the pork barrel system and for true accountability may probably be first-time rally participants. It’s quite amazing that the issue has moved so many people into taking action, especially those who don’t normally join street protests.
There is no one group leading the Luneta rally. Many groups and individuals will be going there because they feel a great and urgent need to express their outrage over what’s happening with our public funds and over the government’s lack of meaningful response to the issue. Quite telling is the Aquino government’s stubborn refusal to give up the pork barrel system. Government tolerance for systemic corruption, the cover-ups in Congress, the Napoles drama, worsening poverty and perhaps even the recent flooding, have all contributed to the growing public outrage.
If this is your first time to join a rally, here are some tips that may help you on that day in Luneta.
1. Organize yourselves into groups if you plan to go. Mas masaya kung grupong pupunta sa protesta. You can get your friends and families and neighbors together.You may set your assembly time and place before going to the main venue. There are many groups that are going, coming from different locations. You may also check those coming from schools, workplaces as well as the plans of various organized groups that will surely be posted on social media. You can organize your own mini-marches, motorcades, convoys etc or meet up with bigger contingents.
2. There will be pocket events in the big area that is Luneta. You can attend teach-ins, discussion groups, open jams, petition signing, freedom walls, flash mobs. There are many possibilities. It’s a big space. There’s no one stage, though the entire Luneta will be the stage. If you don’t belong to one group, try exploring the various events that will be mounted that day. Should you feel “lost”, you may approach the marshals, volunteers or organized groups that will join the event.
3. Bring something to identify your group. Any group, big or small, deserves to be identified. It shows the breadth and inclusive character of the event. Bring your own signs or placards, or anything that would relay your personal or organizational message. Find creative ways to express your sentiments on the issue. Noisemakers such as whistles are also OK.
4. Set a rallying point, or “kitaan” for your group. Again, Luneta is big so it would be good to identify a spot or marker should you and your friends need to meet up or regroup after exploring the various activities. Organized groups usually use flags as markers so people won’t get lost.
5. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Bring some food and water. If you’re a big group, bring garbage bags too. Let’s help in keeping the park clean after the event. It’s a park so I think you can bring mats or small chairs.
6. There’s always a chance of rain nowadays so bring jackets and umbrellas just to be sure. Organized groups from schools, civic organizations and cause-oriented groups usually have provisions for first aid along with medical volunteers.
7. Document the event. This may be history unfolding. Post your pics and messages to help spread the word. This may not be the last protest and we may see each other again in the coming weeks.
8. Lastly, study the issue. Know that you are there fighting for something you believe in. Maybe not all things may be answered at the onset, and some questions may be answered as the day unfolds. What is important is that you go there because you are making a stand and are taking part in a collective undertaking. Collective action is a powerful force for change.