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Opposition groups join forces to condemn Duterte, admin’s policies

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
Opposition groups join forces to condemn Duterte, adminâs policies
About 14,000 demonstrators converged in a common program in front St. Peter’s Church at Commonwealth Avenue called “United People’s SONA” to express opposition to several issues such as stalled peace talks, alleged human rights abuses, contractualization of workers, government’s soft approach on South China Sea, among others. 
Philstar.com / Efigenio Toledo IV

MANILA, Philippines — Thousands of individuals from various sectors and political forces united to confront President Rodrigo Duterte and his administration’s policies Monday. 

Duterte’s previous State of the Nation Address, as well as those of previous presidents, were met by separate SONA events and protests. But now, multisectoral organizations gathered under the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan joined forces with various independent formations, religious and civic groups. 

Reports said that 14,000 demonstrators converged in a common program in front St. Peter’s Church at Commonwealth Avenue called “United People’s SONA” to express opposition to the stalled peace talks, alleged human rights abuses, contractualization of workers, government’s soft approach on South China Sea, among others. 

Liberal Party vice president for external affairs Erin Tañada said the demonstrators were united to condemn the proposal to change the 1987 Constitution, tax reform law and alleged extrajudicial killings linked with Duterte’s anti-narcotics campaign. 

Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes thanked Duterte for being the force who untied groups in protest of his administration.

“He has united workers and labor groups in protest against his administration. He has united workers and labor groups against contractualization. He has united women’s groups against misogyny,” Reyes said. 

He added: “He has united religious groups offended by his statements. He has united different political forces against charter change and dictatorship. Monday’s United People’s SONA sends a strong message that the people will oppose tyranny and dictatorship in whatever form.”

Former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, for her part, commended what she called the historic union of different groups and political forces. Among those who joined the gathering were those who rallied behind her. 

“Kailan pa tayo nakaranas ng ganitong pagkakaisa? Gamitin natin ang okasyon na ito na lalong pagbigkisin ang ating bayan sa tunay na demokrasya at sa tunay na kaunlaran,” Sereno said. 

The scene at Commonwealth Ave. was in contrast to the showdown of leadership at the House of Representatives between Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez and Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. 

DUTERTE SONA 2018

PRESIDENT RODRIGE DUTERTE

STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS

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