23 JULY 2010
“Why would Aquino fear the people? Why should a President who basks on the notion of democracy keep the people farther from Batasan during SONA?”
Labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno posed this question today as President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino suggested to militant groups to just hold SONA protests inside the Quezon Memorial Circle (QMC).
“We just can’t understand why Mr. Aquino would want us barred from the streets to give way to traffic. Nakalimutan na ata niya na ang pagkilos ng taumbayan sa lansangan ang nagluklok sa kanyang ina [Aquino might have forgotten that it was the people’s street demonstrations which installed her mother into power],” said KMU chairperson Elmer “Bong” Labog.
“Aquino wants to bury the tradition of democratic and peaceful street protests – the spirit of EDSA uprising itself – into oblivion just to maintain smooth traffic. Cory Aquino must be turning in her grave right now.”
“His proposal to keep protesters as far as Quezon Memorial Circle is a clear mockery of the democracy which her mother supposedly fought for. It’s an insult for workers and other poor sectors who have long asked Aquino to lend them his ears,” he added.
Labog warned Aquino against affirming his proposal, saying he will only highlight the irony of democracy in this country and the illusions of change which he promised.
Much ado about Gloria’s legacy
KMU also urged Aquino to focus more on the workers’ and people’s demands for wage hikes, decent jobs, justice, land reform and human rights rather than utter a litany of dark Arroyo’s legacy. It said the people have long known their own sufferings under the Arroyo regime.
“Workers want President Aquino to mention in his SONA the demand for substantial wage hikes, ending of extra-judicial killings, among other pressing demands that he left out in his inaugural address,” said Labog.
KMU said it will mobilize its unions and federations for the SONA protests on Monday.
Elmer Labog, KMU Chairperson