MILITANT groups voiced out their own demands and agenda on Monday as they held the People's State of the Nation Address (Sona) as a counterpart to President Noynoy Aquino's own national address.
The people's Sona started with a march from the centennial Park in front of the Davao City City Council building to the Freedom Park along Roxas Avenue where they staged the program.
People coming from different sectors under the umbrella organization Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), held the protest rally to challenge the current President to provide immediate solutions to the long-standing problems we have in the country.
Apparently, the long-standing problems include Gloria Arroyo's regime, and militants call for the immediate persecution of Arroyo and her allies.
"Kami sa Bagong Alyansang Makabayan naga-ingon na dapat ang una tagdon ni Noynoy kay ang sa iyang ginaingon na pagbabago og ang panggukod sa mga nakasala (We say that President Aquino should immediately attend to the prosecution of President Arroyo and her allies because he has consistently been saying that those who have done wrong will be prosecuted)," said Ariel Casilao, Bayan Muna regional coordinator for Southern Mindanao.
Casilao said they have a long list of demands but most of these revolve around the prosecution of Arroyo, economic relief, national patrimony and land reform.
In demanding for economic relief, Casilao said that Aquino should provide clear economic programs and resolve the rising unemployment rate by creating jobs in the country and abolishing all the hindrances to job creation. He added that workers' compensation should be improved.
They also called for Noynoy to provide genuine land reform, as Cory Aquino's Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARP), according to Casilao, was a failure. "The first thing he should look at is their family's Hacienda Luisita," Casilao said.
Among their demands too was quality education for all.
"Dapat i-freeze ni Noynoy and budget for debt payment ug i-prioritize ang education og ang mga mas importante na social services," he said, pointing out that government's low priority for education has resulted to high dropout rates.
The peace talks in Mindanao was also mentioned as well as the abolition of Arroyo's Oplan Bantay Laya, which according to Casilao was hideous and criminal as the program killed many activists, critics and even media practitioners.
Casilao also demanded that Noynoy provide a long-term solution to the country's housing problem resulting to the increasing number of squatters.