‘Change is in our hands’
MANILA – Some 3,700 delegates of the “Manilakbayan” from Bicol were welcomed by the University of the Philippines (UP) community in their campus in Diliman, Quezon City today, July 24.
The “lakbayanis” from six provinces in Bicol region arrived in UP by the busloads at 10 p.m. July 23, after more than a day of travel from Naga City, Camarines Sur since early July 22.
They journeyed along with thousands of other lakbayanis from Mindanao, Eastern Visayas and Southern Tagalog, to join the big rally for President Rodrigo Duterte’s first State of the Nation Address (SONA) tomorrow, July 25. The contingent from other regions were accommodated in the Department of Agrarian Reform, also in Quezon City and in the Polytechnic University of the Philipines in Manila.
They carried with them calls for “just and lasting peace” as they support the resumption of the peace talks between the government of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.
The progressive groups will hold one of the biggest SONA rallies, to forward their 15-point People’s Agenda.
The mostly-peasant contingent also called for justice in their farmed land, asking that the coco levy funds be redistributed to the small farmers, rather than large corporate businesses.
UP Diliman Chancellor Michael Tan, who welcomed the Bicol contingent at Quezon Hall said President Duterte’s slogan maybe “Change is coming,” but change does not come from one God or president.
“Let us not wait for change to come. Change is in our very hands,” he said.
Text and photos by Gino Estella
With additional photos from Fred Dabu