By Dhel Nazario
Protesters from the different cause-oriented groups gathered today along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City as President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his third State of the Nation Address (SONA).
Former Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño said the thousands who united today is proof that Duterte’s so-called popularity with the masses is now waning.
“I think etong SONA na ito hindi lang pinakamalaki, kung hindi pinakamalapad din in terms of the representation nung iba’t ibang mga organisasyon. Pagpapakita yan na ang pinagmamayabang na popularidad ni Duterte ay naagnas na. (I think this (SONA) one is not only the largest but is also the most immense in terms of the representation from the various groups. It only shows that the popularity that Duterte is boasting has already waned,”)
Casiño added that it’s time that the President think twice about charter change and other policies that people are clamoring about including the TRAIN Law, contractualization, and the infamous war on illegal drugs.
He also told Manila Bulletin that Arroyo being House Speaker is “like jumping from the frying pan to the flame.”
“The Congress is worst off with Arroyo being House Speaker. She will be bringing a lot of baggages with her from her time as the President.” he said
United People’s SONA
“While they’re busy fighting, we’re here united.”
As early as 6 a.m.today, protesters were already conducting their respective assembly protests along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City.
Little by little, the volume of the members of the various cause-oriented groups grew until they populated the stretch of University Avenue in University of the Philippines Diliman.
According to Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) secretary general Renato Reyes, this is the first time that all the groups gathered together in a single protest during the SONA.
After the 1:30 p.m. mass at St. Peter’s Parish, the groups who have already formed in front of the church got together to march and meet the larger group from UP Diliman led by BAYAN.
The Quezon City Police District estimated the crowd at 15,000 while Reyes placed the crowd at a whopping 40,000; the largest they had so far.
After marching toward the stage, the groups proceeded to hold their program along Commonwealth Avenue. The northbound lane from Ever Gotesco up to St. Peter’s Parish was filled with people holding banners, crying their chants in rage.
The protesters expressed their dismay over the administration through songs, skits and speeches covering the different issues of the country.
A group of mothers whose kids were killed in the war against illegal drugs showed their anger against the administration saying that their children were victims of injustice.
Skits were also done where names of alleged drug personalities killed in the war against illegal drugs were shouted while the crowd answers back by saying “justice!”
As of this writing, the program is still ongoing and is expected to be over by 6:30 p.m.
BAYAN will burn an effigy of the President called “DuterTRAIN, Sagasa sa Mamamayan” that depicts the current situation of the country.
The effigy critically features the “TRAIN law” that causes continued suffering of the people. According to the groups, “Duterte’s TRAIN” has literally run over the livelihood of the people, causing higher taxes, record inflation, and increased poverty.