DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Progressive groups held separate protests here on President Rodrigo Duterte’s fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, as they highlight the government’s failure to address people’s problems amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Activists under Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) Southern Mindanao Region held a protest action at Kilusang Mayo Uno Davao office after calling off their scheduled rally at the Freedom Park in Roxas Avenue, after police cordoned the area and imposed restrictions to the protesters supposedly to observe city government’s health protocols.
The progressive groups took to online platform to air their grievances as the country grapples with the rising COVID-19 cases and threats to freedom with the Anti-Terror Law.
PJ Dizon, spokesperson of Kilusang Mayo Uno Southern Mindanao, said that while Duterte failed to deliver his promises to Filipino workers, the COVID-19 pandemic further exposes the government failures to address the rising joblessness as an effect of the pandemic. They said the closure of 10,000 firms in Davao Region affects nearly a hundred thousand workers in the region.
“Without national industrialization and the country’s dependence on foreign investors, several workers were left displaced when capitalists pull out their businesses,” Dizon said. “And even in this situation, there’s no clear support for the affected workers, especially to those in the informal sector.”
Bayan Muna regional coordinator Abdul Sissay added that the government should be hold accountable for “negligence” as COVID-19 cases continue to rise up to 80,000 cases, and slammed the government for enacting the anti-terror law and closed down a major broadcast network.
“We’ve been repeatedly calling for medical solutions like mass testing. Our enemy should be the virus, not the people,” Sissay said.
Members of the labor group SENTRO also converged for a SONA protest in the city.
In to their statement, they said the four years of the Duterte administration “is not concerned for the well-being of Filipinos.”
“President Duterte, his officials, and allies in Congress and the Supreme Court, had all failed to act decisively and compassionately where it mattered. This year, the state of the nation is not what this Chief Executive will present in Congress,” SENTRO said.
The group added: “We are a nation that is unsure, terrified and very concerned citizens looking for guidance from an Administration whose leaders do not know what to do or where to go!”
Some 300 Manobo Lumad staying at the UCCP Haran sanctuary grounds staged their own state of the nation address, criticizing the government and army’s relentless attacks against their rights and continued militarization in their communities under the four years of Duterte administration.(davaotoday.com)