Aquino depicted as a monster in ‘Halimaw sa Palasyo’ SONA effigy

QUEZON CITY– Depicting Aquino as a monster that has wreaked havoc to the lives of ordinary Filipinos especially the poor, a ten-foot effigy was unveiled today outside the residence of President Aquino at Times Street by militant groups from the Southern Tagalog region. Called “Halimaw sa Palasyo”, the effigy symbolizes the monstrous rule of Aquino under the backing and control of US imperialist.

“Five years under the Aquino administration had aggravated the already terrible situation left behind by Gloria Arroyo. It is not even fair to just say we’ve had enough. People are suffering and dying and many more will suffer and die if we allow Aquino to proceed with his program of leadership that is anti-people to the core,” said Iya Franca, Spokesperson of BAYAN-ST.

The effigy showcases a monster with the United States’ palace as the backdrop, which according to BAYAN-ST, represents Aquino regime’s subservience to US dictates. Prior to its burning in Commonwealth morning of July 27, a skit will be performed which will show artists dressed in tribal garbs trying to ‘arrest’ the monster that is Aquino. The act of ‘arresting the monster’ embodies the persistent defiance and vigilance of the masses against any pursuit that would further worsen their condition and trample their rights.

“We want to hold the Aquino regime accountable for its neo-liberal, anti-people policies that destroyed the lives of the common folk, especially the poor. Workers have endured five years of monstrous cruelty under Aquino. We cannot afford another year of suffering for our people who have long been living in distressed conditions despite Aquino’s overarching claims at reforms and economic growth,” said Roque Polido, Chairman of Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan (PAMANTIK-Kilusang Mayo Uno).

Citing as examples the ongoing strike of contractual workers in Tanduay Distillers Inc., the arbitrary cancellation of the union elections of Sagara Metro Plastics Industrial Corp. through a Malacañang directive, and the deadlock of the Collective Bargaining Agreement for higher wages in Fuji Electric Philippines, PAMANTIK-KMU denounced the “continuous adherence of the current government to neoliberal policies that have only worsened trade union repression and labor rights violation in the region”.

Meanwhile, coconut farmers from Quezon province demand the just and rightful release and use of the Coco Levy fund for the benefit of coconut farmers. Residents of Batangas and Mindoro, for their part, also joined the protest to register their opposition to ongoing and planned mining ventures in their provinces.

As regards the state of human rights, KARAPATAN-Southern Tagalog stressed that human rights violations remain rampant under Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan.  The group reported 28 cases of political killings in the region. Witch-hunting and illegal arrest of progressive leaders have also intensified with 54 political prisoners in Southern Tagalog alone. Just last July 20, Ernesto Lorenzo, a pastor from United Methodist Church (UMC) and a consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), with his wife Joyce Latayan were illegaly arrested by combined efforts from the government agents of Crime Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) and Anti-Transnational Crime Unit (ATCU).

Since July 20, at least 4000 from the Southern Tagalog region have assembled in a weeklong caravan dubbed as “Bigkisan ng Mamamayan para Patalsikin ang Rehimeng US-Aquino Tungo sa Tunay na Pagbabago”. Composed of peasants, fisherfolks, residents of urban poor communities, workers, students and professionals sectors, the Southern Tagalog delegation will join the national SONA protest on July 27. ###

For more info, contact Chachi @ 0947.804.3466 |For real time updates, visit www.facebook.com/stexposure

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