MANILA- Various sectors did not budge from joining the protest action at the University of the Philippines – Diliman. Before the 5th State of the Nation Address of President Rodrigo Duterte.
During the protest, titled “SONAgKAISA,” various groups gathered to express their calls to the President. In the face of the corona virus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. As well as the passage of controversial policies. Such as of the Anti-Terror Law and the murder of the ABS-CBN franchise.
Activist Mae Paner or better known as “Juana Change” had an explosion imitating Sec. Harry Roque with props for inflatable dolphins.
Roque will remember for his criticism during his vacation at Ocean Adventure in the middle of the community quarantine.
Meanwhile, some people inside the UP Campus received a text saying that everyone should be careful. Not to speak because they might arrest because of the Anti-Terror Law. It is not yet known who sent the message.ience Advocates of Science and Technology for The People criticizes the government’s alleged failure to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Actually when the lockdown just started, the size of the mistake was immediate. Because instead of health on the frontline of the COVID-19 addressing. They used a militaristic approach. Data governance is also not good, these false data are the basis of our government’s policy making. ”said Feny Cosico, Secretary-General of the group.
There were also frontliners who attended the protest questioning the government’s “militaristic” response to the pandemic.
RESPONSE TO HEALTH WORKERS
The so-called protest actions include promoting the rights of health workers in the face of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
Attendees included the Alliance of Health Workers. Which called for higher wages and extra protection for front liners in the face of the Corona-virus threat.
“We hope the president will care to address the health sector’s call to raise wages. It increase protection of frontliners at work in the face of the COVID-19 threat,” said Robert Mendoza, the group’s president.
Filipino Nurses United is also among those who overwork in the midst of responding to the pandemic without the necessary support from the government.
“Sometimes we work 12 to 14 hours and the nurses. Do not have enough protection in the government hospitals to perform their job,” said Maristela Abenojar, National President of the group.
The Health Alliance for Democracy group has condemned the rising number of COVID-19 cases. Allegedly rooted in the government’s lack of an effective program to prevent.
Various labor groups also rallied in protest.
This includes the BPO Industry Employees Network. For adequate support for their workers now with the pandemic.
According to the group, some call center agents are placed in floating status.
While those who still have work, they do not have enough support when they get sick.
ABS-CBN workers, especially those who have lost their jobs since. The network killed by franchise have also participated in the protest.
Concerned artists of the Philippines also marched while flagging the installation named “Monsterte.”
Due to the magnitude of the impact of the pandemic on the industry. The government even prioritized the enactment of the Anti-Terror Bill.
“Let’s not be afraid because that’s what they want us to be afraid of, let’s talk to the artists,” said Jay Altarejos, a director.
Various groups have also criticized the Anti-Terror lack of assistance during the pandemic. The lack of preparedness in responding to the education, labor, and transportation sectors.
Those who participated in the protest also had various tricks to convey. Their call to the government before Duterte’s speech.
Someone made a roulette wheel, someone also painted a “demon” that allegedly resembled President Rodrigo Duterte.
Some also painted their umbrellas and some made headdresses that read “I stand with ABS-CBN.”
SONA protests are traditionally held near the National Assembly and on Commonwealth Avenue.
But now that there is a pandemic, the Quezon City local government first banned it, now mass gatherings are forbidden.
Only action on the UP campus is allowed in this year’s SONA, as long as attendees comply with minimum health standards such as physical distancing and wearing face masks.
Up to 7,400 NCRPO police officers have been deployed for SONA this year.
According to the National Capital Region Police Office, 34 people were arrested in the face of protest actions.
NCRPO chief Debold Sinas declined to say what the lawsuit against. The detainees base on the fact that the arrest was only due to the placards and other protest items.
But one of the reasons they said was that they allegedly used a jeep to go to the protest venue.
The Free Legal Assistance Group is on the lookout for protests in UP. In case the police insist on picking up protesters. The protesters also left voluntarily at 12 noon.