Weathering Two Storms

The protesters of July 24, when President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo delivered her State of the Nation Address (SoNA) this year, faced two storms.

PHOTOS BY AUBREY MAKILAN
TEXT BY ALEXANDER MARTIN REMOLLINO

Bulatlat.com

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The protesters of July 24, when President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo delivered her State of the Nation Address (SoNA) for this year, faced two storms.

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One was the typhoon “Glenda.” The typhoon was sending violent rains and winds through the country’s cities and rural villages, threatening to knock down the giant effigies and blow away the flags and streamers that the protesters had prepared especially for the occasion.

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The other storm was none other than the president herself, who was at the House of Representatives just a few blocks away from where the protesters were holding their program. A few days before, she had ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) to beef up security throughout Metro Manila, specially around the Batasan Complex

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In an interesting twist of fate, the typhoon was originally named “Gloria,” but the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) changed the name to “Glenda” in deference to the president.

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Rally leaders said the name should not have been changed. The president, they said, is just as vicious as the storm turned out to be – if not even more so.

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The two storms notwithstanding, the protesters went on anyway. They braved the rains and winds that threatened to send them all to the sickbed the next day. They braved the heightened security, which threatened another violent dispersal even as they had an approved permit to rally.

In so doing, they drove home a message that was in itself a storm. Bulatlat

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