A different kind of event took place as President Duterte was delivering his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday afternoon.
It was called the “SONAgkaisa” virtual concert hosted by Radyo Katipunan on Facebook.
Called “Tinig Ng Bayan,” the goal of the program was to uplift the spirits of the Filipino people through song, performance, and prayer. Well-known Filipino performers such as True Faith, Itchyworms, Bullet Dumas, and Bitiuin Escalante belted out special tunes for the event.
Theater actress Joanna Ampil sang David Friedman’s “We Can Be Kind,” and Jim Paredes of Apo Hiking Society wrote a new song for what was dubbed as the “alternative SONA.”
The Company performed “‘Sang Tawag Mo Lang,” while III Of A Kind sang an acapella version of “Man in the Mirror.”
Senator Kiko Pangilinan also delivered a special message during the concert. He stressed the importance of the gathering as a sign of “pagtutol (resistance)” against the passage of the Anti-Terrorism Law, the shutdown of ABS-CBN, prioritization of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGOs) over Filipino jobs, and the illegal detention and killing of countless Filipinos.
He also scored the government for its “baluktot na mga patakaran at prioridad (twisted rules and priorities).”
When it was the turn of the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) to perform, several people were seen with tapes on their mouths. After a while, each one removed the tapes.
Their message: “It is our duty to speak up and act. As Filipinos, it is our responsibility to protect the voices of our fellowmen, and together assert our people’s place in a just society. We stand with civil society in condemning the Anti-Terror Bill. We will not be silenced.”
People were moved by the performances of the artists, and many netizens were inspired to speak out against government activities that have been upsetting them.
Pia Magalona congratulated the organizers for the “concert rally” and highlighted the importance of the gathering. “Art plays a big role in the betterment of society. You know it’s art when it’s productive,” she said.
After the concert, an online noise barrage coordinated with groups around the country called Sonic SONA was held. It was organized by the Concerned Artists of the Philippines (CAP), DAKILA, Green Papaya Art Projects, and WSK Festival of the Recently Possible.