MANILA — Various progressive groups said Monday they were "disgusted" by the lack of pro-people and human rights programs in the first State of the Nation Address of President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.
"Magiging bagahe para sa mga manggagawang Pilipino na walang laman, walang kwenta kung usapin ng sahod, trabaho, at karapatan ang State of the Nation Address na ito ngayon ni kasalukuyang Pangulong Bongbong Marcos Jr.," Kilusang Mayo Uno chairperson Elmer "Bong" Labog told reporters.
"Disgusted kami sa kaniyang State of the Nation Address ngayong araw na ito."
(The State of the Nation Address today by President Bongbong Marcos Jr. will be a baggage for Filipino workers, as it was empty and worthless in terms of wages, jobs, and people's rights. We are disgusted by his State of the Nation Address today.)
KMU, Piston, Kadamay, Migrante, and Kilos Na Manggagawa members monitored the SONA of Marcos, which began 4 p.m.
Labog said they did not hear Marcos talk about raising wages, ending job contractualization, and junking of the Rice Tariffication law.
"Bagama’t may ilang positibong sinasabi hinggil sa edukasyon, sa mga foreign policies, usaping pangkalusugan, mahalaga ang pagtataas ng sahod ng mga manggagawang Pilipino at pagpapabasura ng iskemang kontraktwalisasyon na malaking failure ng nakaraang administrasyong (Rodrigo) Duterte," he said.
(Although some positive things were said about education, foreign policies, and health matters, it is important to raise the wages of Filipino workers and scrap the contractualization scheme that was a big failure of the previous (Rodrigo) Duterte administration.)
"Anuman ang ganda ng iyong programa, kung walang pagkain sa mesa ang inyong manggagawa ay maaapektuhan ang kaniyang talino at kalusugan. Patuloy pa rin ang labor export policy na nag-umpisa sa panahon ni Marcos Sr. Ano’ng ibig sabihin na iso-shorten na lamang ang processing ng paglalabas ng mga manggagawang Pilipino? Ibig sabihin ba patuloy na ibebenta lamang ang lakas paggawa ng mga manggagawang Pilipino?" Labog said.
(No matter how good your program is, if your worker doesn't have food on the table, their intelligence and health will be affected. The labor export policy that started during the time of Marcos Sr. is still continuing. What does shortening of the process in deploying Filipino workers overseas mean? Does this mean that the Filipino labor force will continue to be sold?)
The labor leader said that having pro-people and human rights policies will ensure that the welfare of the Filipino people is prioritized.
"Nagtataka lang ako kung tunay na naintindihan ni Marcos Jr. ang lahat ng sinasabi niya ngayong hapon ito. Sapagkat kami na nasa lupa, nakikilahok sa aming paglaban para sa sahod, lupa, trabaho, karapatan, walang binanggit hinggil sa trade union and human rights na tuloy-tuloy na atake ngayon sa mga manggagawang Pilipino, partikular ang red-tagging. Tuloy-tuloy ang pagdukot, ang implementasyon ng patakaran ng National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC). Pero ni minsan, hindi namin naringgan na sinasabi ni Ginoong Marcos ang karaingan po ng mga manggagawa," said Labog.
(I just wonder if Marcos Jr. truly understood everything he said this afternoon. Because we, who are on the ground, fight for wages, land, jobs, and rights, did not hear anything about trade union and human rights, with Filipino workers continuously being attacked, particularly through red-tagging. Abductions continue, as well as the implementation of the policy of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC). But not once did we hear Mr. Marcos talk about the grievances of workers.)
The groups said they felt they wasted their time listening to the SONA.
"Sayang oras (It was a waste of time)," a member quipped, while some booed after the speech.
"Walang bago (nothing new)," another activist said.
While they hope Marcos Jr. would be different from his father, Labog felt that the incumbent leader has the same programs as the late President Ferdinand Marcos Sr.
"We are hoping that he would not be another Marcos Sr., another (Rodrigo) Duterte. But as it is, it seems the same programs are being manifested by the same government of Bongbong Marcos Jr," the KMU leader said.
"We cannot agree with this kind of program. It is against the interest of the Filipino people, workers. And we will stand our ground. We will mobilize our people inside Congress and on the streets. We will commit to this position," he added.
Marcos Sr. imposed Martial Law from 1972 until 1981, during which human rights violations were reported as well as corruption. He led the country from 1965 until 1986.
Allies of Marcos Jr., including members of his Cabinet, as well as some lawmakers, on the other hand, praised his SONA.
“Itong SONA na 'to, para sa akin, ay nagbigay ng pag-asa. Sapagkat sa mahabang panahon, kasi at least ngayon, alam na natin ano ang mga konkrektong plano. Nagbigay din sya ng mga priority bills na nais niyang ipasa,” Sen. Grace Poe said.
Sen. Sonny Angara, in a text statement, said: “Maganda at komprehensibo sa focus niya sa agricultural, kalusugan, turismo, enerhiya atbp. Makakaasa siya sa amin sa Senado.”
Former Senator and incumbent Batangas Rep. Ralph G. Recto called the speech brave and data-driven.
"Others before him had used words to conjure the future. He painted it using numbers. And that makes his SONA brave, not boring, because when you set specific targets – on growth, jobs, debt, inflation – then you set up the goals by which your administration will be measured. May resibo ang mga pangako. Hindi motherhood statements, but calculable key result areas," Recto said in a statement.
Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda said Marcos, Jr. was a “technocrat-in-chief” as he thanked the chief executive for proposing bills he had previously espoused.
“I am beyond thankful for the recognition of my work of several congresses. The measures PBBM mentioned, particularly on the fiscal side, are measures I have principally authored and sponsored congress after congress,” Salceda said.
- with reports from Sherrie Ann Torres and RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News