AS PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte delivers his constitutionally mandated State of the Nation Address (Sona) on July 27, 2020, militant group Bayan is also set to hold its traditional protest action against the government.
This year, the theme of the protest dubbed as SONAgkaisa are the government’s alleged negligence and insufficient response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) epidemic, according to Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes.
They will also protest against the new anti-terrorism law and the shutdown of ABS-CBN.
"Kung last SONA parang dagat ng West Philippine Sea ang tema natin, at noong June 12 naman ay mañanita na may birthday cakes at Voltes 5 ang visual theme, sa SONA naman po ay may kaugnayan sa Covid-19, sa 'veerus' sa Malacanang at sa pandemya ng kapabayaan at kawalang malasakit," Reyes said in a virtual press conference Friday, July 17.
"Sa mga dadalo, please come in your Covid-inspired attire at ipakita natin ang ating sama-samang paninindigan," he added.
Reyes said the protest action will be held “somewhere in Quezon City.” The President is set to deliver his Sona at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City.
He assured that health protocols to prevent the further spread of the Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, will be strictly observed during the event,
"Tingnan natin 'yung nangyari noong June 12 (Independence Day), I think we were able to gather more than 5,000 people na naka-physical distancing naman and wala namang nangyaring paglabag sa health protocols noong nangyari ang action na iyon," he said.
"We can expect the same level of discipline from the different organizations. As for the permit, yan po ay pinag-uusapan. May mga lugar sa Quezon City na hindi kailangan ng permit so tingnan natin," he added.
Joining the said press conference was governance and legal expert
Lawyer Tony La Viña, representing the Concerned Lawyers for Civil Liberties, said they will be at the protest action in “full force” to protect the welfare of those who will be joining.
"We'll be on full force on July 27 if arrests are going to be done, but we can assure you, from a legal point of view, hindi iyan uubra because those are all unconstitutional arrests. Whatever the form is at saan man, we will have lawyers and lawyers' groups that will be there in full force to make sure, to guide people," he said.
"Ang best scenario natin ay walang ma-arrest kasi sa rally itself walang problema kasi alam natin rules natin, 'yung health protocols natin, pero ang problema pag nahuli ka, walang masyadong health protocols 'yung pulis," he added.
Malacañang has yet to decide whether Duterte will go to the Batasang Pambansa or deliver his address via videoconferencing from the Malago Clubhouse. (SunStar Philippines)