As the country continues to face the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, groups in various sectors have explained why there will still be protests against President Rodrigo Duterte’s last State of the Nation Address (SONA).
In conjunction with SONA, groups will march on Commonwealth Avenue and gather at St. Peter’s Church near the Batasang Pambansa. This calls to be the last Duterte to give such a speech to the public.
“Limang taon na, alam nating walang nangyari at tayo ngayon ay nakaharap sa napakalaking krisis hindi lamang dahil sa pandemya kundi dahil sa pinakamalaking kasalanan ng hindi pagkakaroon ng maayos na pamamahala,” said Dinky Soliman of Tindig Pilipinas.
He said there would be more space on Commonwealth Ave, and they will be able to follow health protocols at such a protest launch.
In 2020, the SONA protest continued despite the pandemic on University Avenue of the University of the Philippines Diliman.
SONA 2021: Protests amid pandemic now ready
“The negotiations are ongoing, inaasahan lang natin na sana there has to be a middle ground. Hindi naman pwedeng pipigilan mo ‘yung democratic exercise at hindi rin naman pwedeng babalewalain natin ang health measures. I think a compromise can be made along with Commonwealth (Avenue) ‘yan po ang wino-work out sa ngayon,” he said.
Some of the issues to be discussed in the protest are issues faced by the current administration, such as extrajudicial killings, drug war, sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea, and the government’s alleged pro-China policies.
The groups also approached the administration’s untimely resolution of the pandemic.
According to Casiño, it is clear to the public that the president wants to evade his responsibilities in the said matters after his statements that he will run for vice president if he is given “legal immunity.”
“Kitang kita ng mamamayan na napakamakasarili ng motibo ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte kung bakit gusto niyang manatili sa poder. Siya mismo ang nagsabi na para takasan ‘yung pananagutan sa marami niyang kasalanan sa bayan,” he said.