Green FM Field Reporter
QUEZON CITY, Philippines- Even as the current administration was hounded by mounting criticism and eroding approval ratings, President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, delivered his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) last Monday, July 28, 2014 before the Joint Session of the Upper and Lower Chambers of the Philippine Congress.
Over 17,000 protesters including the House of Representatives Makabayan (Nationalist) Bloc of anti-PNoy party-lists Gabriela, Bayan Muna, Anak Pawis, Makabayan, Kabataan, among others, joined the People’s SONA Rally in Commonwealth Avenue.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) deployed 6,000 policemen near the Batasan Complex early morning as the police force expected more rallylists to converge near the Batasang Pambansa, compared to the previous year’s SONA, according to Senior Inspector Maricar Taqueban of the Quezon City Police District Public Information Office.
Barbed wire barricades were placed along the roads leading to Batasan Complex where another phalanx of policemen was positioned. Twenty-one ambulance units were visible and prepped for medical emergencies. The Bureau of Fire Protection, Caloocan City Police, and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority were in an all-alert status in Malacaňang.
The nationalist bloc of the protesters, namely, Neri Colmenares and Carlos Zarate of Bayan Muna, Luzviminda Ilagan and Emmi de Jesus of Gabriela, Terry Ridon of Kabataan, Fernando Hicap of Anakpawis and Antonio Tinio of Alliance of Concerned Teachers, walked out of the Congressional hall before President P-Noy delivered his speech, to join the protesters outside the complex who complained that most of the so-called accomplishments of the government were not felt by majority of Filipinos. The Partylist representatives all wore the color peach which they said represented their support for the impeachment complaint against President Aquino.
“We decided to walk out on the fifth SONA of President Aquino because we know that he would just utter lies to further defend the unconstitutional DAP” – Makabayan bloc.
In an exclusive live on air interview of Green FM Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares, he decried the president’s disrespect of Congress and the bending of the law just to get his own Presidential pork barrel.
Policemen maintained their defense at high alert level as protesters in front of the Ever Gotesco Mall burned the effigy of President PNoy and attempted to go over the barbed wire barricades. Just as the president ended his SONA in Congress, the protesters surged toward the police line and forced their way through the barricade. The crowd was dispersed by water cannons of the Quezon City Police District.