From CNN Philippines (Jul 23): Groups prepare for SONA protests
Protesters on Sunday readied their placards in preparation for rallies to be held during President Rodrigo Duterte's Second State of the Nation Address on Monday.
Calls to resume peace talks and end martial law in Mindanao are some of the issues various militant groups will raise during the protest near the Batasang Pambansa tomorrow, where the President will deliver his SONA.
READ: Duterte delivers 2nd SONA on July 24
Members of the Kilusang Mayo Uno and Alyansa ng mga Manggagawa Laban sa Kontraktwalisasyon in Mendiola prepared placards and props for their so-called "People's SONA" on Monday.
Authorities estimate around 15,000 protesters will stage protests during the President's SONA tomorrow.
Protesters are expected to leave Mendiola at 7 a.m. tomorrow to march to Constitution Hills, near the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City.
There, they will converge with other protesters, including groups from Bayan Muna, Migrante, National Union of Students of the Philippines, and Kilusang Mayo Uno.
The groups said they will call on President Duterte to resume peace talks and to end martial law in Mindanao. They will also ask the President to fulfill his campaign promise of ending contractualization.
The police have allowed critics to protest at the corner of Batasan and Sinagtala roads or about 900 meters away from the House of Representatives complex. The President's supporters, meanwhile, will converge in front of the Civil Service Commission (CSC), or about a kilometer away from the militant groups.
Aside from the rally near Batasan, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan Secretary General Renato Reyes Jr. says similar protests will be held in other regions, from Ilocos to Iligan City.
Militant groups staged rallies last year, but these were peaceful and in support of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Farmers hold State of the Peasantry Address
Hundreds of farmers from Central Luzon, Southern Luzon, and Mindanao also trooped to the Department of Agrarian Reform for the delivery of their State of the Peasantry Address Sunday evening.
The address will list the farmers' grievances against Mr. Duterte's first year in office and will revisit the plight of farmers.
Farmers belong to the poorest sector in the country. Organizers said they expect 2,000 farmers from the provincesto join the mass protests tomorrow.
Protest leader and Anakpawis Representative Ariel Casilao told CNN Philippines the Duterte administration failed to help the struggling and starving Filipino farmers around the country.
Worse, Casilao said cases of harassment and human rights against farmers have risen. He said the Duterte regime is responsible for the death of 70 farmers and agricultural leaders.
He said farmers have remained peasants despite being the food producers who should be self-sufficient, and not starving.
"We are very alarmed because the statistics shows this is higher than the first year of president Noynoy Aquino, second the trend is continuing… Ang isang taon ni Pres. Duterte ay kailangan singilin ang mga pangakong napako, ang mga pangakong hindi pa nagkakatotoo. Kailangang singilin at iginiit ng kilusang mambubukid ang pangakong libreng pamamahagi ng lupa mula sa public lands at mula sa mga naglalakihang hacienda," he said
[Translation: We are very alarmed because the statistics shows this is higher than the first year of president Noynoy Aquino, second the trend is continuing… We must charge for unfulfilled promises during President Duterte's first year, promises that didn't come true. We must charge, and we emphasize the promise to distribute land from public lands and sprawling haciendas.]
6,300 Police to be deployed SONA
The protests come at the height of several issues, including the extension of martial law in Mindanao.
On Saturday, the Congress approved the extension of martial law in Mindanao until December 31, 2017 amid continued fighting between government troops and the Maute forces in Marawi.
READ: Congress grants Duterte's request to extend martial law in Mindanao until end of year
Last Wednesday, Metro Manila Police Chief Supt. Oscar Albayalde said Metro Manila Police are on "full alert status" for Monday.
Around 6,300 police will be deployed on July 24 to secure eight different areas in Batasang Pambansa- significantly more than the 4,000-strong police forces deployed last year, during the President's first SONA.
Even though the police has not monitored any terrorist threats in Metro Manila for Monday's event, Albayalde said they are strictly monitoring crowded areas and checkpoints.
The police will also declare a no-fly zone within the six-kilometer radius from the House of Representatives.
An additional 2,000 traffic enforcers will also be deployed. This as three lanes of the Northbound lane of Commonwealth Avenue will be dedicated to protesters--- with a 200-meter buffer zone from the gates of Batasang Pambansa.
READ: 6,300 police to be deployed to SONA