National democratic organizations, the traditional opposition, along with other groups and individuals once again converged at the University of the Philippines (UP) in Diliman, Quezon City in conjunction with Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) last July 27. The protesters defied Department of Interior and Local Government Sec. Eduardo Año’s ban on rallies. Año attempted to use the quaratine as a pretext to restrict the people and suppress their right to express their disgust over the inutile, corrupt, puppet and fascist regime.
The mobilization was spearheaded by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) and its allied organizations. This was participated in by various sectoral groups which united under the banner of “SONAgkaisa.” Health workers wearing personal protective equipment, teachers, church people, youth and students, scientists, lawyers, workers, farmers, fisherfolk, residents from urban poor communities and many others participated in the protest. Instead of marching at the Batasan Pambansa, representatives of the Makabayan bloc joined the protests, donning their protest wear to demand the junking of the Anti-Terror Law and safe opening of schools, among others. ABS-CBN employees also trooped to UP from the network’s station in Mother Ignacia St. Bayan estimated that approximately 8,000 people participated in the protest action which was held from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
In Tondo, Manila, the youth and drivers mounted a lightning rally to avoid being arrested. Other protesters went to Quiapo Church to attend mass. Police troops entered the church and arbitrarily snatched the protesters’ placards during the mass.
In the afternoon, famous artists launched an online concert named “Tinig ng Bayan” (people’s voice). The concert showcased a community singing of “Di Niyo Ba Naririnig?” (Do you hear the people sing?) which featured Angel Locsin and other personalities. A music video of “Rage,” a song by the band The Jerks, was also posted in Facebook. The music video featured Martin Nievera and other artists.
In Cagayan Valley, Catholic churches rang their bells in solidarity with the protests in Isabela and Tuguegarao. Catholic churches also rang their bells in Baguio City.
In Bicol, progressive groups rallied in Legazpi City, Albay, Naga City and Catanduanes. In Davao City, police arbitrarily restricted activists from mounting their first protest since the lockdown which was supposed to be held at the Freedom Park by requiring participants to bring quarantine passes. The protesters, instead, launched their rally in front of the headquarters of Kilusang Mayo Uno.
Groups also protested in Laguna, Cavite, Pampanga, Tarlac, Iloilo, Capiz, Aklan, Dumaguete, Kabankalan, Bacolod, Cebu and Ozamis.
In the US, local chapters of Bayan in New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Chicago, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco-Bay Area, Los Angeles and Hawaii issued a statement of unity and conducted their respective protests. In San Francisco, approximately 300 people and 80 vehicles participated in a caravan and protest which they called the Northern California State of the Nation Address. They called for Duterte’s ouster. Protesters also marched from the Howard University Hospital to the Philippine Embassy in Washington DC.
Similar protests were mounted in Canada. Anakbayan-France also spearheaded a rally near the Eiffel Tower in Paris.