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Walk for Change event turns into protest rally

Rommel L. Rutor (The Freeman) - December 1, 2015 - 9:00am

CATBALOGAN CITY, Philippines – The Walk for Change activity, staged by a socio-political group to mark the 151st birthday of Gat Andres Bonifacio on Monday, turned out to be a protest rally held outside the Capitol, denouncing the P800-million loan approved by the Provincial Board recently.

The socio-political group Bag-o nga Samar Movement, originally wanted to conduct the Walk for Change event, as shown in its permit, a copy of which was obtained by The Freeman.

The BSM activity, however was joined in by militant groups Anakpawis, Gabriela Youth, Kabataan Partylist and People’s Surge (Samar), and it was transformed instead into a protest action against the provincial government.

An estimated more than 500 people converged in front of the Samar Capitol at around 10 am with protest streamers from various militant groups airing out their opposition to the proposed P800-million loan of the provincial government to fund some projects.

The City Police then talked to the group leaders to finish their program because their permit did not provide for the holding of a protest rally. After reminding the groups about their permit, the police let the “protesters” conduct their activities. The latter were supposed to stay until 3 p.m. but they started to dissipate by noon time.

Based on earlier interview with Jun Bardaje, one of the conveners of the BSM, the group was demanding for the dropping of the P800-million loan, because it was untimely due to the coming elections.

“The present Capitol leadership doesn’t have the moral ascendancy to implement the projects they mentioned that will be funded by the said loan,” Bardaje told The Freeman.

Samar Governor Sharee Ann Tan, in a message sent to The Freeman in reply to the allegations of the protesters, said it (protest rally) was a desperate political move using the loan as its anchor.

“The way I see it, they are not actually pushing for the issue of the loan because they know that it went on the proper process, but more on making deceptive statements about it to float their political agenda. From Day 1, we followed the legal process of this borrowing, and it is based on real and good intent,” said the governor.

Tan clarified that the P800-million loan will be used as equity to a P1-billion World Bank grant of various road concreting projects under the Department of Agriculture’s Philippine Rural Development Program.

“Portion of it, like the P200 million, will be used as counterpart for the Department of Health’s P150-million fund that will be used for the first phase construction of the new Samar Provincial Hospital, while the rest will be used to construct roads contributory to the P800-milion Whole of Nation Fund, expected next year,” said Tan.

“This is a rare opportunity for us (province), and whoever is offered with these chances will definitely look for ways to grab it, and if we don’t, somebody out there will take it. It’s not for us but for their province,” added the governor. (FREEMAN)

ACIRC CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH FROM DAY GABRIELA YOUTH GAT ANDRES BONIFACIO JUN BARDAJE KABATAAN PARTYLIST AND PEOPLE LOAN PHILIPPINE RURAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM
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