People of Southern Tagalog slam “overkill” deception and repression in SONA 2015
Militants from Southern Tagalog hold an indignation rally today in front of the House of Representatives to register the People’s SONA. Yesterday, they scored the overkill “security” measures put in place by Malacanang to stifle people’s right to assemble and protest. “This action of Malacanang effectively disputes the democratic posturing of this administration. It’s totally ridiculous to transform the street into a garrison when all people wanted was to exercise their constitutional right to assemble and protest,” said Iya Franca of BAYAN-ST.
Layers of blockades on Commonwealth Avenue, which is consists of policemen, military, firetruck, concrete barriers, concertina wires and container vans, prevented thousands of people from holding their annual People’s State of the Nation Address near Batasan where President Aquino delivered is fifth and last SONA. Overkill is also how activists describe the “self-congratulatory rhetoric of lies and half-truths delivered by Aquino.”
“It is not that we actually expected him to be honest. But we are still surprised at how he managed to face the people and try to convince us that things are better when labor rights violations are rampant, poverty rates are higher, and corrupt practices are perpetuated by no less than President’s partymates and allies, among others. And although expected, we nevertheless felt betrayed once more when he avoided discussing major issues for which people are waiting for proper explanation and closure such as the Mamasapano, DAP and PDAF, and the FOI Bill that he promised,” added Franca.
BAYAN-ST also expressed vehement condemnation and decry the arbitrary harassment by fascist regime of Noynoy Aquino following a series of surveillance operations by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP). A police officer belonging to the Intelligence Unit of the PNP were immediately confronted and stopped by paralegal volunteers and marshals after they were caught secretly taking photos of activists and leaders of militant groups taking part in the SONA 2015 in Ever Commonwealth yesterday. An Army Technical Sergeant was also accosted doing surveillance operation during a pre-SONA protest in Times Street last July 26.
KARAPATAN-ST also strongly condemned the systematic harassment through surveillance by police & military intelligences operatives, which they said is a prelude to the filing of various trumped up charges and in many cases, extra-judicial killings of leader-activists. “We cannot allow anymore that impunity will prevail under the fascist US-Aquino regime, through the PNP & AFP which operates their counter-insurgency measures through surveillance that leads to illegal arrests/detentions and summary killings,” the rights group said.
They added, “Our lives are on the line here, hence, we have to confront them and exposed their identities and their principals. We will also file case against them as they violently hurt our members.”
At least 1000 from the Southern Tagalog region have banded together since June 20, 2015 in their week-long protest caravan leading to the SONA. The assembly called “Bigkisan ng Mamamayan para Patalsikin ang Rehimeng US-Aquino Tungo sa Tunay na Pagbabago” is composed of delegates from peasants, fisherfolks, residents of urban poor communities, church leaders and lay persons, workers, students and professionals sectors. ###
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