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MANILA, Philippines — As President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. is set to deliver his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) this Monday, July 24, a number of political groups and civil society organizations are uniting to highlight the issues faced by their respective sectors through various initiatives and activities around the country. This will culminate in a mass protest action called the People’s SONA.
As it coincides with the anniversary of Marcos Jr. ‘s first year in power, these groups are hoping to express their stand regarding the administration’s performance so far, and shed light on the struggles Filipinos continue to face that have yet to be addressed. Some of their calls will revolve around issues on the economic crisis, assertion of national sovereignty, and human rights abuses.
On the day of the SONA, the mass protest will involve various groups and organizations marching along Commonwealth Avenue up to Tandang Sora Avenue from 8 am to 12 noon to voice out their struggles and demands for change, as the Marcos Jr. administration enters its second year in power.
Several groups, including Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN), will be calling out the worsening crisis of poverty and hunger, food and job insecurity, and the post-pandemic economic hardships faced by the country today.
Meanwhile, Alliance of Health Workers (AHW) unions will be mobilizing a group of health workers to highlight the deteriorating state of of their sector amid promises regarding the “health for all” agenda of the Marcos Jr. administration.
The League of Filipino Students will also be uniting to amplify the voices of young Filipinos as well as jeepney drivers, as they protest against the jeepney phaseout and await further action in regards to the Omnibus Franchising Guidelines (OFG) that have yet to be reviewed by Malacañang.
Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) likewise plans to join the protest as it demands for a new agrarian reform program, as well as significant reforms in the agricultural sector.
Ahead of the protests, some groups will also be holding activities before the SONA, both on-ground and online.
Among these activities are the following:
Panday Sining Makati is launching a sticker-bombing and sticker trade campaign from July 17-24 that aims to express the youth’s call for good governance under the Marcos Jr. administration.
Youth groups will also gather to call on the Marcos Jr. administration to address corruption in the education sector through a Barbie-themed march days before the SONA on July 21, from 10 am to 12 noon in Liwasang Diokno Freedom Park.
Aside from some of its members joining the People’s SONA this July 24, Artista ng Rebolusyong Pangkultura (ARPAK) will be protesting in Cavite on July 23 against the enactment of the Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF), while raising issues faced by the farmers and fishermen of the country.
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BAYAN Timog Katagalugan, together with GABRIELA Southern Tagalog will be protesting for the protection of the country’s sovereignty, wage increase, as well as defense of the Southern Region through their #BigkisanCaravan2023 initiative from July 21-24.
Anakbayan Pampanga will hold an educational discussion intended to happen before the SONA, which seeks to highlight the Anatomy of Philippine Politics, on July 22.
In anticipation of the SONA, US-based organizations such as BAYAN USA will hold its own online press conference that will feature Filipino migrant workers in the US sharing their own experiences and demands to the administration.
They will also mobilize in different areas across the United States, such as in the Philippine Consulate of Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and more.
Meanwhile, Anakbayan Melbourne will have a youth rally in front of the Philippine Consulate Office on July 22, as well as a mass rally joined by organizations such as BAYAN Australia on July 23.
Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines (YACAP) will hold a One Year Climate Assessment of Marcos Jr. through Zoom on July 22, 8-9 pm, in anticipation of the climate development claims to be discussed in the SONA.
Chloe Canivel is a Rappler volunteer from Ateneo de Manila University. She recently graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology.