Militants gather crowd vs Sona-A A +A
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
AROUND 3,000 militant groups marched from Bajada, Magallanes, Ecoland, and Jacinto to Rizal Park on San Pedro Street Monday to chide the State of the Nation Address (Sona) of President Benigno Aquino III for not addressing real issues that affect the masses.
The protesters are from Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, Bayan Muna, Gabriela–Southern Mindanao Region (SMR), Karapatan, Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay), Anak Pawis, Kabataan Partylist, Transmission-Piston, Panalipdan, Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), Kilusang Magbubulkid ng Pilipinas (KMP), No to Coal, Urban Poor Women-Samahan ng Maralitang Kababaihan Nagkakaisa (Samakana), Samahang Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (Selda), Pipol’s Power, Alliance of Concerned Teachers, Exodus for Justice and Peace, and League of Filipino Students, among others.
Sheena Duazo, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan spokesperson, said for Aquino’s third Sona, their group and its allied organizations rate the president’s central economic and political policies as zero percent for not responding to the needs of the people.
Duazo said for three years in the service still Aquino shows incapacity to ease the burden of the less fortunate ones. She added that all of his programs remain unsustainable.
In their live presentation, the protesters brushed off the so-called achievements of Aquino administration like restriction of corruption, poverty alleviation, increased infrastructure projects, and regaining investor confidence.
Duazo, however, said the regional issues shows the worsening plight of workers, farmers, the urban poor, consumers, and intensified threat to the environment.
“In general assessment, for two years makita jud namo nga grabe na ang kalisod, taas ang rate of unemployment, padayon ang human rights violation, extra judicial killings mitaas, unya padayon nga naga connect ta sa US Government,” Lawyer Carlos Zarate, vice chair for the Mindanao–Bayan Muna party-list, said.
Zarate added that the master-slave relationship of the Philippines and the United States makes the Filipinos a pawn in the US economic and military interests.
Hanimay Suazo, secretary-general of Karapatan, said Aquino must end the culture of impunity in the country. She added that it has been three years since he (Aquino) was elected as President, but his campaign promises related to human rights remain unfulfilled.
Bishop Modesto Villasanta, from United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) and convener of the Exodus for Justice and Peace, dared the Aquino administration to see for him the real situation of the country before he airs achievements.
Pedro Arnado, KMP chairperson, said the groups expects nothing from Aquino, but only empty promises and rhetoric speech.
Arnado said until now majority of the farmers are still suffering from poverty, hunger and even harassments under Aquino’s leadership. He added that the Sona of the president is a mere fraud.
Arnado also pointed out the legislation of the Aquino’s Public Private-Partnership that is a continuation of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's subservience to neo-liberal economic policies, Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) and his other programs as ineffective.
“The 4Ps failed to augment the economic burdens of the working and middle class while demands for jobs, decent wage for workers, land and genuine agrarian reform, basic social services continue to be the least of the president’s programs,” Arnado said.
Arnado said within two years, Aquino’s central economic policy Public Private Partnership (PPP) also did not help instead the public has been burdened with unabated price increase in oil and petroleum products, water and power rates.
Tony Salubre, chair of FADC, said Aquino should instead give much attention to the less fortunate, adding the President only continued Arroyo's programs like the Oplan Bantay Laya, which is now called Oplan Bayanihan.
Meanwhile, the Gabriela-SMR with the urban poor groups, also urged the President to look into the situation of the less fortunate, as they demand for a comprehensive local social housing program, a wage hike increase, and more jobs that will assist the needs of the people.
“Hantod karon wala pa mi nakita na kabagohan. Mas nagkalisod naman nuon ron,” Cora Espinoza, vice chair of the Gabriela-SMR and chairperson of the Samakana, said, as they also urged Aquino to stop the corporatization of the public hospitals.
Francis Morales, secretary-general of the Panalipdan, said they will not be surprised if the third Sona of Aquino will not offer anything new and substantive for the environment and well-being of the people.
Morales said Aquino has already spent two years in his post but still has not arrested and reversed biodiversity loss and environmental plunder.
“Instead, he has just continued the wrong environmental policies of the Arroyo regime which promotes plunder-as-usual development projects especially on mining and energy,” Morales added.
On the other hand, Dr. Jean Lindo, Kalikasan party-list’s third nominee, also hits Aquino for deception and green washing over the mining executive order (EO), which will not grant new permits until new laws for increase in revenue are enacted.
Duazo added that the president’s mining deal with BHP Billiton and Shell will lead to the country’s dispossession of vast oil and mineral reserves and is bound to suffer from the ecological impacts of the open-arms treatment of Aquino to TNC’s.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on July 24, 2012.