Braving intermittent rains, thousands of militants from various provinces in Southern Tagalog started their three-day Lakbayan (people’s march) to challenge the Aquino administration to “reveal the true state of the nation.”
“It’s Aquino’s third State of the Nation Address and the people of Southern Tagalog, together with the whole nation, are prepared to hear no lies,” Leo XL Fuentes, Bayan-Southern Tagalog secretary-general, said.
“We expect Aquino to sing praises for his administration, such as the perceived success of his Conditional Cash Transfer program and his fight against corruption, while elsewhere in the country the plight of the common people continue to worsen,” Fuentes added.
He cited the recent SWS survey that revealed 34.4 percent (13.8M) of Filipinos are unemployed, and 55 percent are getting poorer. He said that whatever economic gains the present administration has achieved were enjoyed merely by the ruling few.
Meanwhile, protesters from Laguna, Cavite, Batangas, Quezon and Rizal assembled early today in provincial centers to conduct programs that “expose the true situation of the people” in their respective provinces.
At around lunchtime, protesters from Laguna and other regional formations gathered at San Pedro, Laguna to deliver the “State of the Region Address.”
“The Southern Tagalog region is not exempted from the havoc wreaked by the Aquino administration. Poverty, landlessness and unjust wages continue to plague majority of our fellow Filipinos in the countryside. Human rights abuses continue to escalate, with the perpetrators never brought to justice,” Fuentes said.
“When the people, because they are already fed up with repressive government policies, protest, they are met with repression and violence under the government’s counterinsurgency program Oplan Bayanihan,” he added.
In the afternoon, protestors from other Southern Tagalog provinces and from Manila joined the people’s march Alabang and Silverio Compound in Parañaque City, before heading to Baclaran Church where 100 red candles with “people’s wishes to Aquino” will be lighted.
Militants will then hold protest actions at Mendiola, Times Street and the US embassy tomorrow before proceeding to Batasan on Monday to deliver what they call the “people’s SONA”.