PROGRESSIVE groups gathered early morning Monday, July 25, 2022, along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City to air their sentiments ahead of the first State of the Nation Address (Sona) of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
The protesters were carrying posters, tarpaulins, banners and other protest paraphernalia where their call over various issues, such as the soaring prices of basic commodities, salary increase and unemployment, were written.
They also highlighted their hope that Marcos’ administration will have high respect for human rights.
Marcos was the only son of former President Ferdinand Marcos Sr. who ruled the country for 20 years as he put the Philippines under Martial Law in September 1972.
Marcos Sr. was accused of intense human rights violation during the Martial Law, which gave him sole power over the country’s military and security forces.
Killings and abuses especially against political opponents and critics also reportedly prevailed during the Martial Law regime.
The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) also prepared an effigy of Marcos as a “party boy” “who is detached from the country’s problems,” Bayan visual artist Max Santiago said.
Traditionally, groups set the President’s effigy on fire during such assembly held before Sona.
But the Philippine National Police (PNP) said that they got a commitment from the groups that there would be no burning of effigy of this time.
Health workers from the private and government hospitals also joined the protect action where they demand the release of their coronavirus disease (Covid-19) allowance, as well as the increase in their salary.
Bahaghari, the national alliance of Filipino LGBTIQA+ advocates, organizations and pride formations, urged Marcos to address the gender-based violence in the country and to certify as urgent the Sogie Equality Bill.
Labor groups urged Marcos to end contractualization, start industrialization in the country covering the agriculture to ensure food security for the Filipino families and to work for a wage hike among the Filipino workers.
Meanwhile, hundreds of policemen were lined up along Tandang Sora along Commonwealth Avenue. They were ordered to implement maximum tolerance to avoid unnecessary confrontation which may lead to untoward incidents.
Earlier, the Quezon City Government granted permission for the conduct of protest actions along Commonwealth Avenue ahead of Marcos’ Sona provided that participants will adhere to minimum health protocols to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019.
Progressive groups were allowed to conduct their march and assembly from the Elliptical Road only up to the corner of Tandang Sora from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Marcos supporters, on the other hand, were allowed to occupy the Interim Batasang Pambansa (IBP) Road near Sinagtala Street, Barangay Batasan Hills until 6 p.m. (SunStar Philippines)