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Aswang Ka Festival 2013 at MCL hits pork barrel scam in PH

By Dionisio T. Pobar III, student contributor

The student demonstrators together with their professors, Rogelio Valenzuela and Elizabeth Nuncio.

Hundreds of students from Malayan Colleges Laguna (MCL) showed their dismay over the pork barrel scam in the Philippines by participating in this year’s Aswang Ka Festival.

The Aswang Ka Festival, which touches on the country’s socio-political ills, is held annually at MCL to increase the students’ social awareness. This year’s festival, which was staged from October 29 to 31, slammed the misuse of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). PDAF is popularly referred to as pork barrel.

Students dressed in their aswang costumes roam around the school campus holding placards to condemn the pork barrel scandal.

During the festival, the participants donned their scariest costumes and acted like an aswang, a Philippine mythical creature comparable to a monster. They roamed around the school campus holding placards bearing messages that condemned the scandal.

Some of these messages were: “If you steal the public fund, you are an aswang”; “Only the corrupt benefit from the hardships of the people”; and “Bring back what the society deserves!”

According to Filipino professor Rogelio F. Valenzuela, one of the organizers of the event, the Aswang Ka Festival was MCL’s version of a protest rally against the pork barrel scam.

"Because most of our students are not able to participate in national anti-pork barrel protests in Manila, we let them protest here in the campus. This is a serious protest but a creative one," said Prof. Valenzuela.

MCL is located in the town of Cabuyao in Laguna province. A speech choir, a beauty pageant, a cheer dance, and a human tableau competition were also held during the festival.

This year's Aswang Ka Festival is a protest rally against the pork barrel scam.

"Let us partake actively in solving the social issues of our country such as the pork barrel scam. This yearly festival shows that we can be creative in expressing our disgust over these corruption and scandals afflicting our country,” he added.

The MCL festival was inspired by the yearly Aswangan Festival in the province of Capiz in Western Visayas. Unlike the Aswangan Festival, however, the Aswang Ka Festival aims to use aswangs to represent corrupt public officials.

The past themes of the festival were about plagiarism, environmental protection, corruption, poverty, and other social issues.

The Department of Filipino at MCL lauded the students for participating in the annual Aswang Ka Festival, saying that Malayans are not indifferent to the problems assailing the country today. It said joining in this year’s festival was one way of showing the students’ disgust over the PDAF scam as they called for concrete actions to bring those liable behind bars.

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