Wider Protests Against Aquino Administration Expected at SONA Today

Claire Mercader

Green FM Newswriter

 

Activist group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) has called on the Filipino people to join the protest assemblies during President Benigno Aquino III’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, July 28, 2014.

Bayan said in their press statement that various sectors of society – from workers, government employees, farmers, health workers, students, church people, and community groups – are expected to march along Commonwealth Avenue while the President addresses the Congress for his Fifth SONA. Some peasant groups have already set up camp near the SONA venue in Quezon City to show their sentiments against the present administration.

Bayan expects this year’s protest march to be bigger than last year’s especially now that President Aquino faces multiple impeachment complaints filed by various activist groups stemming from issues of corruption, poverty and the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

Artist group Ugatlahi has created an effigy with the DAP theme, “Noynoy holDAPer”, in reference to the controversial presidential pork barrel which was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

Bayan reacted to the Senate finance committee hearing last Thursday where Budget Secretary Butch Abad, defended the Disbursement Acceleration Program.

“Our institutions have been compromised by pork. The executive and legislative branches are colluding in covering up the DAP. And on Monday, these die-hard defenders of pork will be gathered under one roof and will again be proclaiming the virtues of pork and patronage politics,” Bayan Secretary General Renato Reyes Jr. said.

Bayan said it was appalling how Abad justified the release of additional pork funds to the senators. They also assailed as a “blatant lie” the so-called benefits of the DAP for poor people.

“How can additional pork barrel be considered beneficial for the people when we all know that pork is a source of corruption and patronage politics? The people are indignant over the way the Senate and the Executive are colluding just so they could free Aquino from any liability in the DAP issue,” Reyes said.

Bayan encourages people to express themselves on Monday, “If you’ve had enough of the endless lies and deception, join the protests on SONA and let the government know your outrage.”

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