NATIONAL Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) director chief Guillermo Eleazar said the State of the Nation Address (Sona)-related protests on Monday, July 23, proceeded smoothly with no untoward incident recorded.
"Hindi lang generally peaceful but very peaceful. Simula pa kaninang umaga wala tayong ni isa man na untoward incident tayong natanggap," he said.
(It was not only generally peaceful, but very peaceful. We have not received any report of untoward incident since this morning.)
Eleazar said over 15,000 anti-President Rodrigo Duterte protesters flocked in front of the St. Peter Parish Church along Commonwealth Avenue while at least 9,000 Duterte supporters staged a program along the IBP road, near the Batasang Pambansa.
Just like what was agreed on by the police and the militant group leaders, anti-Duterte protesters stayed in the area designated for them.
In the program dubbed "United People's Sona," leftist groups condemned the killing of over 4,000 people amid the government's war on drugs which they said was "against poor."
They also slammed the proposed Charter change being pushed by the government, the government's operations against "tambays" as well as Duterte's statement against God and women.
However, they reacted in a positive way to the leadership conflict at the House of the Representatives that ousted Davao del Norte Representative Pantaleon Alvarez as Speaker and installed former President and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in his place.
Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes said if there is one thing they should thank Duterte for, it is for uniting various groups in a protest against the government.
"If there's one achievement of the President that we are sure of, it's that he managed to unite various groups in a protest against his administration. He has united workers and labor groups against contractualization," he said.
"He has united women against misogyny. He has united religious groups offended by his statements. He has united different political forces against charter change and dictatorship," he added.
Reyes said Monday's United People's Sona sends a strong message that the people will oppose tyranny and dictatorship in all forms.
Also present together with the anti-Duterte protesters were former chief justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, Mae Paner also known as Juana Change and former Bayan Muna representative Neri Colmenares.
Sereno, in her speech, slammed the proposed constitutional change which she warned will lead to a dictatorship and prolong the administration's term.
"Malinaw sa akin, matapos ang masusing pagaaral, na maghahari-harian ang Presidente sa Federal Constitution sakaling mapalitan ang kasalukuyang konstitusyon," she said.
(After a thorough study, it is clear to me that the President will rule under a Federal 'Constitution.)
"Ang draft Federal Constitution ay hindi dokumento ng pag-asa at pagpapahalaga sa kapwa, kundi dokumento ng desperasyon at kawalang halaga sa mga maliliit. Galing ito sa paniniwalanh alipin tayo ng ating kasaysayan, na dahil hindi pantau-pantay ang pagunlad ng mga rehiyon ay magkanya-kanya na lamang tayo," she added.
Sereno urged the people to be one to deny the shift to a federal form of government.
The program ended and the rallyists dispersed shortly before 7:00 p.m., about an hour after Duterte finished delivering his third Sona. (SunStar Philippines)