A SONA without barricades

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ON the day that President Rodrigo Duterte delivered his first State of the Nation Address (SONA), change was palpable.

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For the first time in years, there were no barbed wires, container vans, military tanks or phalanxes of policemen clashing with rallyists at Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City or in areas near the House of Representatives.

Also for the first time, militant groups were allowed near the House of Representatives as early as 8 a.m.

“This is historic because we were never allowed to reach Batasan Road since I joined rallies in 1992,” Renato Reyes, Bayan national chairman, said.

In the past SONAs, container vans were used to blocked rallyists from getting near the House.

The leadership of the Philippine National Police decided not to put up barricades because militant groups led by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) promised to hold a peaceful rally, according to Senior Supt. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar, acting director of the Quezon City Police District (QCPD).

An estimated 30,000 members of various groups marched to the Batasan Pambansa on Monday.

Reyes said his group was happy because they were allowed near the House of Representatives.

“He (Duterte) did what was agreed on when we went to Malacañang to ask permission to get near Batasan,” he told the reporters.

Reyes said they held a rally to show their support to the President. He described Duterte as a leader who understands the militant groups’ grievances.

“The big difference today is the president. The president understands. The president is not afraid to listen,” he said.

He said they continued their tradition of holding a “people’s SONA” because it is where the real situation of the country can be elevated by simple folks like workers, farmers and the urban poor.

Reyes however clarified that despite their “alliance” with the Duterte administration, his group will continue to push the government to stop the contractualization of workers, stem unemployment and underemployment, address landlessness of huge number of farmers, poverty and hunger, militarization on many rural areas and human rights violations, among many other concerns.

Renato Magtubo, national chairman of Partido Manggagawa (PM), and Reinhart Nuena of Protect Mindanao Group, agreed with Reyes.

“Contractualization, just like drugs, destroys lives, wreaks families and ruins the future of the youth,” Magtubo said.

“How can a decent life for a family be sustained when breadwinners are paid poverty wages without benefits and who lose their jobs after five months? We would like to see big time pushers of contractualization, among whom are the richest capitalists, be penalized as criminals,” he added.

No threat
The peaceful holding of SONA rallies pleased PNP chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa.

Dela Rosa said it was the first time that policemen deployed to keep the peace did not feel threatened by protesting militant groups.

“This is the first time in the history of the Philippines that we have a SONA and that the police are not feeling threatened… our policemen are relaxed,” he told reporters.

“We allowed them [militants]to get inside the Batasan Road. Totally Commonwealth road is clean. There are no barricades, no traffic problem… they are inside the (Batasan road) around 300 meters from the entrance of Batasan,” Dela Rosa said.

“Those militants who used to battle with policemen are there to show their support to the administration. They are no longer aggressive,” he said.

“This is the change that we are now observing, we are now experiencing… before militant groups are clashing with the policemen that are securing the SONA,” he added.

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8 Comments

  1. Ang lupet mo Renato Reyes! Wala ka bang trabaho since 1992 nag ra-rally kana? bka di pa nagbabayad ng buwis tapos panay reklamo mo sa gobyerno. At least ngayon in support kayo kay Duterte pero sana ikaw at mga kasama mo mag trabaho at magbayad ng buwis para makatulong kyo sa bayan at hindi puro rally sa kalye. 1992 ka pa pala nandyan, may nagbago ba? may napala ba yung ingay at reklamo nyo? Magbanat ng buto hindi puro banat lang.

  2. Now, for all the world to see, we have a PRESIDENT. By refusing to finger point, the way the Abnoy did all the time, he has shown us we have a president who is confident in his worth as a man and as a leader. He will shine by his strength not by finger pointing to excuse his own ineptness. Quoting Jojo Robles of another newspaper, ” breathtaking incompetence is the calling card of the Aquino administration.”

  3. I have been there, done that. Yung mga powerful Yellows at mga bayarang yellow minions lang ang magugulo at mararahas.

  4. The Sona is really for the people . President Duterte made it clear to communicate to the common masa and not just to the people inside the Batasan. His language and style may not impress the Oligarchs and premium guests inside the hall but indeed has resonated to the common people who voted for him . His message was to Congress and all leaders elected to make sure they work hard for the change needed for the entire country .

    • Who cares about oligarchs and cronies now that Pres. Duterte is already on the helm. This gentleman despises oligarchs and cronies. It has been an open secret that the Makati Business Club is not happy that Duterte is the one in charge because they cannot control him. We should pray that this MBC which destroyed the administration of Gloria Arroyo because she also did not allow the MBC to control her but were very happy with PNoy because they control him, will not do negative actions against Pres. Duterte. Only the people can protect the President against the connivance of the members of the MBC.

  5. Not a fair comparison. Duterte’s 1st SONA should be compared with PNoy’s 1st SONA in 2010. There was euphoria as well. Duterte is evidently pro-NP and pro-militant groups but comparison should not be based on a single issue alone.It’s bettero define a criteria and compare the 2 SONA’s in attendance,substance and acceptance.

    • In my opinion , whether the comparison of the two SONA’s was fair or not… it does not matter !

      What matter is , there was no protest shown by the militant groups but a show of support for Pres. Rodrigo R. Duterte …

      and, there is nothing wrong about Pres. RR Duterte’s being pro to every Filipino EXCEPT the DRUG LORDS , CRIMINALS , CORRUPT GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS and the ELITES who are taking advantage of the poor people who are in need .

      For me , the show of support by the militant groups is a good sign that soon , we Filipinos would be united in peace for a better Philippines through the leadership of Pres. Rodrigo R. Duterte.

    • 2 distinguishing qualities: in the DU30 SONA the message is change, while in the Abnoy SONA the message was blamie ……