Groups call for economic relief, genuine freedom in Marcos' SONA

Different organizations under the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) gathered along University Avenue at the University of the Philippines Diliman in Quezon City on Monday, July 25, calling for President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.'s action on various issues besetting the country, particularly immediate economic relief, genuine freedom, and democracy.

The group assembled along University Avenue and started to march towards Commonwealth Avenue and Tandang Sora at around 9:30 a.m.

They carried with them various concerns they want Marcos to address such as ending human rights violations, increasing the salary of workers, and accountability in corruption cases, among others.

(Photo by Aaron Dioquino/ MANILA BULLETIN)

The protesters laid out a "Nine-point Agenda for Change" that includes addressing inflation and tax relief to consumers; reviving agriculture and prioritizing food production; making land reform and national industrialization the foundation of pro-people economic development; making defense and promotion of human rights a key commitment of the government; adopting a clear government policy to fight disinformation, and protecting press freedom and freedom of expression; instituting a democratic, ethical, and accountable governance; free heath care and basic social services by realigning funds; upholding national sovereignty and independent foreign policy; and ensuring environmental protection, rehabilitation, and balanced use of the country's national wealth.

Bayan vowed to fight for these measures as well as to oppose anti-people and anti-national policies of the government.

An effigy of the president made by various artists highlighted the group's program.

Bayan said that the 12-foot effigy symbolizes "Marcos' detachment to the crisis affecting millions of poor Filipinos."

(Photo by Aaron Dioquino/ MANILA BULLETIN)

"Basically, napapansin natin na party mode, kasi masaya yung mga Marcos, particularly Ferdinand Marcos Jr., dahil muli niyang nakuha yung pinakamataas na posisyon sa bansa (Basically, we notice that the Marcoses are in party mode, they are happy, particularly Ferdinand Marcos Jr., because he was elected to the highest position in the country," Max, one of the artists of the effigy, told Manila Bulletin.

"Yung gusto nating i-highlight yung pagiging detached sa kalagayan ng mamamayan. Yung pagiging, kumbaga, hiwalay doon sa masa (What we want to highlight is his detachment from the people's condition. How separated he is from the masses)," he added.

The group toppled the effigy during the program to show that they don't recognize Marcos' presidency.

Bayan also slammed what it called the "overkill security preparations and spending" for Marcos’ State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Members of the multi-sectoral organization Sanlakas also rallied along Commonwealth Avenue to raise various concerns regarding the inflation rate in the country, climate change, and employment.

The Quezon City Police District (QCPD) said that there were around 5,000 individuals gathered on Commonwealth Avenue as of 10:46 a.m.