By LUISA SANDOVAL
MANILA — “WakaSONA.”
This is the theme of the protest on Monday as progressives called for an end to the Duterte presidency as he delivers his last State of the Nation Address amid apparent plans to stay in power beyond 2022.
“We call for an end to the Duterte presidency not just because the end of his term nears. But this will also extend until the 2022 elections as he plans to remain in power,” said Bagong Alyansang Makabayan Spokesperson Teddy Casiño in an online press briefing.
They cited Duterte administration’s failure in pandemic response and defense of the country’s sovereignty, the economic crisis, human rights violation, and corruption as grounds for their demand.
The Quezon City police earlier denied progressives a permit to stage their annual protest action but Casiño said they will push through with it, citing constitutionally guaranteed rights to peaceably assemble and seek redress for grievances.
Among those joining the protest action on Monday are farmers belonging to the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas. Its chairperson Danilo Ramos assailed that budget for the agriculture sector declined from 2016 to 2021 that it barely reached two percent of the total national budget.
They will also bring on Monday their calls for justice over the extrajudicial killing of farmers under the Duterte administration. Ramos said they documented 336 farmers, fisherfolk, and agricultural workers have been killed and a total of 25 massacres since 2016.
“He is a pest to us farmers. On Monday, we will bring the legitimate and rightful demands of Filipino farmers in the protest action,” said Ramos.
Joining, too, on Monday are workers rights activists who have assailed the worsening hunger and poverty in the last five years. Kilusang Mayo Uno Chairperson Elmer Labog said contractualization, which Duterte promised to end, still plagues workers.
Given the attacks on various sectors, Concerned Artists of the Philippines Secretary General Lisa Ito said it is not surprising that many will stand up and speak up against the present administration.
She said, “we are angry about the situation. There are different creative forms of protest that will take place on Monday to show that we are standing up against attacks on our freedom, our environment, our health, and our rights.” (JJE, RVO)