Students from various Catholic and non-sectarian schools join the rally against pork barrel at the Luneta on August 26.

MANILA, August 26, 2013—The youth have something to say on issues affecting their lives— as their numbers showed—when they turned up in thousands during the “A Million People March” against Pork Barrel in Quirino Grandstand, August 26. 

Christian Torsar, a student leader from St. Mary’s College of Meycauayan in Bulacan stressed the need of awareness among young people on issues that concern the nation and its people. 

“With the release of the issue to the public, the youth has become aware of what is really happening not just within the government, but also how taxpayer’s money is spent. Knowing this makes us keen on how to act and now we want our lawmakers to know that the youth are against the abuse of using the pork barrel,” Torsar said. 

He thinks that as citizens of this nation, the youth have the right to know the issue and have also the responsibility in know how taxpayers’ monies are being spent. 

As a student leader, Torsar believed it is important to guide fellow students and fellow youth to understand the importance of discipline and following guidelines on what is right or wrong. 

“In leadership, to avoid corruption, you must be an open-book to all. And each leader must encourage his/her members to help him/her in everything that he/she will do for the greater good,” Torsar added. 

For Jergette Normandia from the Student Catholic Action (SCA) of the Philippines, joining the rally clearly defines the meaning of unity and solidarity for all Filipinos, including the youth. 

“The people have spoken; it’s not just because today is a holiday doesn’t mean that we will just remain home and feel relaxed. We all have the right to know about everything because this is our country. The sole reason of why our young people are also here, attending this gathering,” she said. 

She emphasized that despite their being young, she and her fellow young people has the right to express the concerns and rights of the Filipino people, especially the poor. 

Normandia suggested that if the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), also known as Pork Barrel will not be abolished, lawmakers should re-think passing the Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill which will help the public in knowing how the taxes are spent by every lawmaker in the country. 

Meanwhile, Jay del Rosario, a leader from the Kabataan Artista Para sa Tunay na Kalayaan (a member of ACT Now), said that the issue triggered the minds of the youth and this is the right time that they must intervene with social issues. 

“The future of our young is at stake here. So there is a need for our youth to be aware on this and be vigilant about it,” del Rosario added. 

He suggests that the youth must change the culture of not caring for social issues into a culture of love for country and fear of God. 

“If you love your country and you fear God, you will not be able to steal what is not yours. And if you really love the country and fear God, maybe this will not be the current state of our country right now,” del Rosario furthered. 

Thousands of people from various sectors,  including the youth and the Church join the rally against Pork Barrel. (Jandel Posion)