By JEOFFREY MHAR LARUA
BAGUIO CITY — Progressive groups in the city are all set to commemorate Rodrigo Duterte’s second State of the Nation Address (SONA), July 24, with the “people’s assessment” of his first year as president.
In a press release, Geraldine Cacho of Tongtongan ti Umili (TTU), an alliance of progressive organizations in the city, said that this year’s SONA is different since “so much have changed” since Duterte took power last year.
“We greeted Digong’s presidency with the people’s agenda for genuine change. There have been twists and turns over the course of 12 months, and the change we asked for then now seems elusive more than ever,” said Cacho.
Cacho highlighted that while there are some positive points, the government still failed to deliver substantial reforms and seems to have “switched lanes”.
“The government remains to be dominated by pro-US militarists and oligarchs. Positive developments are overshadowed by anti-people, pro-foreign, and fascist trends in the regime,” said Cacho.
“There is a great sense of urgency now because of the worsening economic, political, and social crisis facing the country,” she added. Duterte’s second SONA will take place amid the Martial Law in Mindanao, stalled peace talks, rising human rights violations, and the crisis in Marawi.
‘Firsts and repeats’
Cacho also mentioned that while the Duterte government may have “many firsts”, including the appointment of progressives in the cabinet and the assertion of an independent foreign policy, it is no different from past regimes.
“This regime may be special but with its neoliberal, pro-foreign, and fascist policies, it is starting to resemble a lot like the past regimes,” she said. “These regimes have indirectly claimed the lives of countless innocent people and activists through its policies,”
TTU, along with other groups will be conducting a protest-rally in the city on the morning of July 24, joining similarly-led protests in Manila and other key Philippine cities. # nordis.net