By KIMBERLIE NGABIT-QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY– Chanting “walang ulan, sa bayang lumalaban”, (there is no rain for a nation fighting) progressive groups marched from the Cathedral of the Resurrection in Magsayay Avenue to the Igorot Park along Harrison Road here in Baguio where they held their People’s State of the Nation Adress (SONA).
Today, July 23, President Rodrigo Duterte is set to deliver his third SONA before the House of Representatives. In a nationwide coordinated action, progressive groups around the country held mass actions, fora and other group gatherinngs to present “the people’s Sona.”
Armed with their umbrellas bearing pennants condemning the manifestations of tyranny and militarization in the countryside, calling for the scrapping of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (Train) law, versus development aggression, land grabbing of ancestral lands, contractualization, among others.
They braved the rain and held a short program to present the view of organized sectors and communities on the ground what they see as the “true state of the nation.”.
The protesters said that under the Duterte administration the state of poverty has worsened with the implementation of the Train law. They said there had been no significant increase in daily wages but the prices of basic commodities and services have doubled because of the new tax law. They added that on top of this, the administration failed to address the lack of jobs and crackdown on the demeaning system of contract hiring or contractualization.
They also said that militarization of Cordillera villages continue to heighten human rights violations. They added that political vilification and filing of trumped up charges against Cordillera activists continues .
Before the march rally, the progressive groups held a forum at the Cathedral of Resurrection where they presented updates on the issues and problems that is worsening the national economic crisis. Participating sectors include indigenouspeople, workers, urban poor,women and youth. As the solution, their speakers pointed out, “The nation can only rely on the unity and conserted action of all oppressed sectors to effect genuine social change.”# nordis.net