More than 8,000 protesters gathered along Commonwealth Avenue this afternoon, presenting issues and demands to the Noynoy Aquino administration as the new president delivered his first State of the Nation Address (SONA).
A program was held and leaders from different sectors spoke about the most pressing problems of their sector and the urgent issues the new administration needs to address. Militant partylist representatives also went to the rally before going to Congress.
Protest activities are expected to hit the streets as President Noynoy Aquino delivers his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday.
According to Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN), lead organizer of the multi-sectoral rally, the protest aims to highlight the “people’s challenges to the new administration.” The rally will carry the theme: “Katarungan, Karapatan, Kabuhayan at Kalayaan (Justice, Rights, Jobs, and Freedom).”
As with the previous SONA rallies, an effigy will be featured. This year, the visual artists decided to make a magician a-la “Harry Potter,” with the objective of posing the question of whether the Noynoy’s “magic” will be able to solve the people’s problems or will he instead come up with illusions to cover them up.
Given the grim human rights situation under the preceding administration, it was demanded of president Noynoy Aquino to make an immediate and categorical denouncement of extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances, human rights violations and a scrapping of Marcos-type policies implemented by Gloria Arroyo.
Aquino could have prevented the gruesome murder of Bayan Muna member and town councilor Fernando Baldomero last July 5. The incident when a father was shot dead in front of his 12 year-old child could not have happened if the president chose to take concrete steps over rhetoric and tokenism, and swift action over indecision.
He could have, for instance, included in his inauguration speech a strong statement condemning extrajudicial killings and disappearances, committing fully to uphold human rights and punish perpetrators of killings and dissappearances. (An activist noted that Aquino did not mention the words “human rights” in his speech.)
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