MANILA, Philippines – As President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. is set to deliver his first-ever State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, July 25, various sectoral groups and organizations have come together to amplify their struggles through a massive united action called the People’s SONA (PSONA).
This series of protests, organized by political and civil society organizations, aims to highlight the struggles of Filipinos from different sectors, especially during a worsening pandemic and economic crisis.
Different activities have also been lined up, both on-ground and online.
Here is the list of such activities leading up to the SONA:
On the day of the SONA, various groups, organizations, and alliances across the country will unite, as they march together along Commonwealth Avenue, to amplify their struggles and demands, especially during a worldwide health and economic crisis.
Earlier this week, the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) denied Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) a permit to hold the PSONA along Batasan Road, citing that it is not a freedom park and that it would disrupt the traffic around the area.
This was after letting pro-administration groups conduct their activities on the same day at the same venue.
“There is no such thing as a “no rally zone” insofar as public spaces are concerned, based on BP 880. Also, there are many precedents for peaceful SONA rallies in the last 6 years. So to invoke “traffic” as a basis to deny the permit is flimsy and arbitrary.” BAYAN Secretary General Renato Reyes, Jr. tweeted upon receiving QCPD’s arbitrary resolution rejecting their request.
After appealing their application, Reyes emphasized in a tweet that the problem that needs more attention is the current crisis in health, economy, and democracy—not protests and rallies.
By July 22, the Quezon City government and QCPD formally renounced their previous decision. They allowed the conduct of rallies as long as the protesters will follow health protocols, and will not impede the normal flow of traffic.
This is not new as the QCPD also denied the protesters a permit last year, citing the spreading of a new variant of COVID-19 at that time.
In Calabarzon, the Southern Tagalog Movement against Tyranny will hold their People’s SONA, which aims to highlight their calls for a concrete economic plan and genuine democracy, from July 22 to 25.
They are also calling for those in solidarity to help their movement.
Here’s how you can help:
Kabataan Partylist Cordillera calls for unity to champion the people’s calls in their own staging of the PSONA – themed #DawatTiUmili (Hiling ng Mamamayan) – in Malcolm Square (People’s Park) at 9 am.
They will hold educational discussions and performances tackling the calls of the people.
In the USA
Various US-based organizations such as BAYAN USA, Anakbayan USA regional groups, Malaya Movement USA, and International Commission on Human Rights in the Philippines USA will band together during their own PSONA in front of the Philippine Consulate in San Francisco at 1 pm Pacific Standard Time.
People outside San Francisco will also conduct their own PSONA at their respective places.
Filipinos across Australia will unite to stage their own PSONA.
On the day of the SONA, Filipino protesters around Melbourne will come together in the State Library at 5:30 pm Australian Eastern Standard Time.
Prior to the day of the SONA, July 24, protesters from Sydney will gather in Sydney Town Hall at 4 pm Australian Eastern Standard Time. Meanwhile, those from Perth will converge in Yagan Square at 4 pm Australian Western Standard Time.
In Canada, Anakbayan Toronto calls every concerned Filipino and Canadian to gather for a night of discussions and performances in Bathurst – Wilson Parkette from 6 pm to 8 pm Pacific Standard Time.
Meanwhile, various sectoral groups and organizations lined up protests and other activities ahead of Marcos Jr’s first State of the Nation Address.
In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDEFEND) holds a video series tackling the needs of the different sectors in the country with its final episode airing on July 24.
Arjay Hije is a Rappler Intern from the University of the Philippines Los Baños. He is an incoming Communication Arts senior focusing on written communication.