MANILA, Philippines - Militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) said Saturday it is looking forward to President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III’s first state of the nation address (SONA), in particular his “shocking” expose on the previous administration.
The group however said it is more interested on how Aquino would prosecute the members of the past administration for their “shenanigans and misdeeds.”
“We look forward to being shocked so to speak, but what we are most interested in knowing is, after the expose, how will Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and her cohorts be made accountable,” Bayan secretary-general Renato Reyes Jr. said in a press statement.
He said Bayan is hoping that Aquino’s revelations will be followed by concrete moves against the alleged crimes committed by the Arroyo administration.
“We know that there were corruption, fraud, and human rights abuses. The big challenge for the new government is how to go after the perpetrators. It remains to be seen if the promised Truth Commission can actually do this," Reyes said.
Reyes said Aquino will have his own effigy, which militants will reveal during the demonstrations near the Batasan Pambansa complex on Monday.
He said that the effigy depicts President Aquino as a magician, because so far, his promises remain an “illusion.”
Reyes however assured that the militants will not burn the effigy, unlike what they did with former President Arroyo’s many effigies in the past.
He said they are willing to give Aquino the benefit of the doubt.
Don't pass on burden to people
Meanwhile, Reyes said they fear that President Aquino’s “expose” on the previous administration’s budget spending would lead to anti-poor economic measures.
“We are wary that the measure that will be taken by the new administration is to pass on the fiscal burden to the people,” he said.
He urged the Aquino administration to implement solutions that are “socially just.”
“Stamping out corruption is one acceptable thrust. Going after big tax evaders is also good. But new taxes on the people, that is not what we are expecting,” Reyes said.
The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has announced that it will start to impose 12% value-added tax on tolls on August 16, the same day that the private company managing the South Luzon Expressway is planning to implement a 233% toll fee increase.
The BIR has also announced it will also require market vendors and small business owners to issue receipts as part of a program to raise revenues.