600 join anti-SONA protest in Cebu
CEBU CITY, Philippines — At least 600 members of cause-oriented groups gathered in downtown Cebu City a few hours ahead of the State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Monday, July 24, to air their sentiments against his administration.
They especially asked Marcos to take a closer look at the plight of the workers, whom they said, are in need for a wage increase as they speak of the “true state” of the country.
“Ang mga benipisyo sa mga mamumuo karon, layo kaayo, kulang kaayo sa gitakda nga makabuhi nga suholan. Gawas pagyud, gibuak-buak pagyud ang sweldo, regionalized, mao na nga gadusog mi og national minimum wage nga gabase sa family living wage nga sa amoang tan-aw, P1,100,” said Jaime Paglinawan, the BAYAN Central Visayas chairperson.
Paglinawan said it was frustrating that the President opted to give priority to the approval of the Maharlika Investment Fund instead of giving focus on the needs of the poor, especially the workers.
He said that the Maharlika Investment Fund could become a source of corruption that will only benefit the allies of the President.
Stop military agreements
Meliza Sobroso of the Kilusan para sa Pambansang Demokrasiya (KPD) Cebu urged the government to stop its military agreements with United States of America (USA).
Sobroso expressed fear that the conduct of military exercises with the US will only involve the country in its conflict with China.
During their protest, cause-oriented groups also destroyed an effigy of the President.
“Mura siya’g puppet siya sa US noh, kay tungod nakita nato ang iyang mga polisiya karon nga nag-agad jud siya sa US nga mga mando sa iyaha.” said Jaijai Ampoon of Sentro ng Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO).
Ampoon said that the President do not have clear program for the Filipino workers.
He also lamented on the continuous drop in the number of unionists in Cebu because they are either being harassed or killed.
As protesters destroyed the President’s effigy, about 100 policemen from the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) were deployed nearby to ensure peace and order.
Police Major Efren Diaz Jr. said no untoward incidents were reported during the protest action that lasted for about three hours or until 12 p.m.
The protesters gathered at the Freedom Park at 9 a.m. They marched to Colon Street at 10 a.m. to formally start their protest. | With reports from Mariele Ocubillo and Angeline Bregondo, CTU Interns
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