WITH the first State of the Nation Address (Sona) of President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, July 25, the progressive group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan in Northern Mindanao (Bayan-NMR) criticized his failure to highlight the plight of the laborers, farmers, the lumad and his plans on the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca).
About 10,000 people across the region gathered in the Cagayan de Oro City to stage the support rally of Duterte’s Sona which was contrary to the usual protest rallies against the Sona of former presidents in the country.
Bayan-NMR Secretary General Wildon Barros said Duterte didn’t mention one of his promises during the elections – ending the contractualization scheme that has failed to provide security of tenure among laborers.
"Dismayado ang mga mag-uuma kay wala ma-mention ang genuine land reform para naa na sila yuta matikad; ang mga mamumuo wala ma-mention ang pagwagtang sa conractualization para naa na unta security of tenure ang mga workers," Barros said.
The group was also disappointed with Duterte not mentioning his plans on scrapping Edca and junking the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (Ipra).
"Kanang Ipra law, mao nay hinungdan ngano ang mga yuta sa lumad atoa na sa mga multinational corporations ug ang Edca nga gimaniobra sa US," Barros said.
Barros said the group will stage protest rallies in the coming days to claim the promises of Duterte.
"Critical na kini and dako ang posibilidad nga ang among lihok suporta mahimo nang lihok protesta. Murag nawala ang word of honor ni Duterte sa mga saad niya sa iyang kampanya," Barros said.
The group rated Duterte five out of 10.
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"Ang nakatabang lang gayud mao ang pronouncement ni Duterte on unilateral ceasefire against CPP-NPA para wala mawala na ang kagubot ug unta mapursige kana," Barros added.
Led by Bayan-NMR, the delegates marched from Capitol Grounds to Kiosko Divisoria, this city.
The group sets up a monitor to watch and hear everything the president pronounced in the Sona.
In Butuan City, about 5,000 activists marched the streets here and held a rally supporting the Sona.
Edgar Canda, Bayan Muna coordinator for Caraga region, said the rally they had been the first of its kind in the region.
“This is a unique rally. This is not a gathering to protest but for the first time we gather here from the five provinces of Caraga region to show support to our president. This activity has a huge significance to the people’s movement here in Caraga, especially that this is the very first Sona of our new president who is from Mindanao,” said Canda.
Canda added they are proud since he is the very first president who has acknowledged his being a leftist and a socialist and they are expecting Duterte to have a genuine concern toward the sector that has always been marginalized and severely hit by the past administration’s ‘Oplan Bayanihan’ as it affected much of the people in hinterland communities in Caraga region.
“We know this region for its vast natural resources especially mining, but the people and its communities have fallen victims of the greed and its people remained one of the poorest in the nation. We hope that the president will make true to its promises, those he made during the campaign period and after he was proclaimed,” Canda said.