Activists urge Filipinos: Come join 'historic' SONA march

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 25 2016 09:17 AM

MANILA - Leftist activists on Monday invited the public to join their "historic" march and program ahead of President Duterte's first State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Speaking to radio dzMM, Bayan Secretary General Renato Reyes said the mass action will be a show of support for the new administration and an avenue for relaying the people's agenda to Duterte.

Thousands of activists from Mindanao, Bicol, Southern Tagalog, Central Luzon, Northern Luzon and Metro Manila are expected to attend the program near Batasan Pambansa, where Duterte will deliver his SONA, he said.

"Sana nga po makasama ang ating mga kababayan. Ito po ay magiging mapayapang pagtitipon pero talaga naman pong makasaysayan at magiging malakas ang mensahe natin ngayong araw," Reyes added.

Left-leaning groups from various areas in Metro Manila have started marching to Batasan at around 6 a.m. today.

Reyes said militants will hold their program in the vicinity of Batasan at 12 p.m.

"Napakalaking programa po ang inihanda natin bilang suporta nga doon sa magagandang hangarin ng Pangulo, suporta sa peace talks at para ipaglaban angmga interest at agenda ng mamamayan," he said.

Under the Aquino administration, security forces manning barricades of barbed wire, container vans and concrete barriers blocked activists from approaching Batasan.

For the first time in recent history, however, Duterte allowed left-leaning groups to demonstrate 300 meters away from the SONA venue.

The progressive movement in the country has several members in the Duterte Cabinet, led by Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, Anti-Poverty Commission head Liza Maza, Labor Undersecretary Joel Maglungsod and Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano.

Duterte is expected to deliver his first SONA at 4 p.m. today.

READ: Duterte SONA to stoke patriotism - Palace