Various groups with the common goal of ending President Rodrigo Duterte’s reign in 2022 will take to the streets on Monday, July 26, the day of his final State of the Nation Address (SONA).
In a virtual press conference on Thursday, July 22, the groups which include Bayan, Kabataan, Sanlakas, and iDefend unveiled plans to hold protests in parts of Quezon City on Monday, under the theme, “Goodbye, Duterte.”
Former Bayan Muna representative Teddy Casiño said multi-sectoral groups will hold a program along Commonwealth Avenue at 9 am, followed by a unity march leading to Batasang Pambansa at around 11:30 am.
A giant effigy depicting Duterte as a gecko will be displayed in the morning, in reference to the Filipino idiom “kapit-tuko” or someone clinging to something – power, in this case – at all costs.
“Isang halimaw na tuko na ang pangalan ay ‘Duterte Tuko’ [ang susunugin] upang isalarawan ang kanyang pagkapit sa kapangyarihan,” Casiño said.
(A monster gecko named “Duterte Tuko” will be set on fire to depict his attempt to cling to power.)
Casiño was referring to Duterte’s floated vice presidential bid in 2022, in a desperate bid to escape legal accountability for wrongdoing during his term as president.
Human rights groups iDefend and the Movement against the Anti-Terrorism Act (Mata) are also set to hold protests outside the Commission on Human Rights beginning 11 am on Monday.
Akbayan said in a statement that its advocates will hold a pre-SONA rally on Friday, July 23, also along Commonwealth Avenue. Akbayan said they will hold oversized letters to spell out “Goodbye Duterte,” and also bring moving boxes to send a “strong a message that Duterte needs to move out of his office as soon as possible and face accountability for his crimes against the people.”
Duterte’s sixth SONA is the second to be held against the backdrop of an ongoing health crisis.
In 2020, police encouraged opposition groups to hold online rallies instead, but that did not stop protesters from braving the threat of COVID-19 and taking their dissent to the streets over Duterte’s mishandling of the pandemic.
In a joint statement on Thursday, the groups made it clear that Monday’s protests are a manifestation of their frustration over Duterte’s rule.
“Dami ‘nyong pangakong napako, three to six months. Ngayon, limang taon na pero nganga,” the groups said.
(You promised to accomplish a lot of things in three to six months. Five years later, we’re still waiting.)
They were referring to Duterte’s campaign promises to end the drug menace and crimes in just three to six months – broken vows that had won him the presidency.– Rappler.com
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