Groups ready for ‘big protest’ on Duterte’s 3rd SONA

Representatives from different organizations and sectors held a press conference today at the Quezon City Sports Club to announce the ‘United People’s SONA’ on July 23.

The protest will be held on Commonwealth Avenue hours before President Duterte delivers his State of the Nation Address on Monday afternoon.

Joining the United Peoples SONA are Movement Against Tyranny, Justice for Coalition, #BabaeAko, Tindig Pilipinas, SANLAKAS, Kalipunan ng Kilusang Masa, and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, among other sectors coming from a wide range of the political spectrum.

Also joining the protest are organizations composed of peasants, workers, women, urban poor, youth and students, and families of victims of extrajudicial killings, religious groups, and victims of Martial law in Mindanao.

The protest will underline Duterte’s promises as having been transformed into ‘weapons against the people’. Before taking oath in June 2016 and shortly after, Duterte promised an end to contractualization, a campaign to curb drug abuse and crime, a resumption of the peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front, and an independent foreign policy.

Movement Against Tyranny dubbed the United People’s SONA a ‘breakthrough in the fight against Duterte’s brutal and oppressive regime.  “His two year rule has been one of vulgar speeches, empty boasts and failed promises. We have a grim spectacle of 23, 000 killings, declaration of martial law, spiraling prices, a policy of kowtowing to China and the United States, the watering down of the Bangsamoro Basic Law and termination of GRP – NDFP peace talks,” MAT said.

The gathering on Monday will also protest Duterte’s Charter change, which the groups say is the president’s way of imposing authoritarian rule in the guise of a shift to a federal structure. “The Cha cha will only enable the few to forward their own interests, allow the president and other incumbent to stay in power beyond their terms, or establish a transitional or permanent dictator along the way,” Kalipunan ng Kilusang Masa said.

Laban ng Masa also said that the administration has caused ‘intense suffering’ among the people because of the tax reform law, while wages and salaries remain low.

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan said that the broad united front has emerged just two years into the term of Duterte. It highlights the growing isolation of the regime amid the worsening economic and political crises in the Philippines.

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) also enjoined progressive and patriotic officials from Congress to go out to the street and march with the groups.

Bayan also announced that they will hold post-SONA protests nationwide to ‘underscore the growing people’s resistance to the Duterte regime’. The group urged the people to support the historical United People’s SONA and to hold similar actions in their respective cities and provinces.

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