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Bayan to stage nationwide mass protests on SONA

Posted on 20 July 2011 by admin

News Release

July 20, 2011

Saying that President Benigno Aquino III has failed to bring about meaningful changes and reforms, umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) will lead thousands in protest nationwide on Aquino’s State of the Nation Address on July 25.

The main protest will be in Quezon City where Bayan said it is planning to march towards Batasan Road. The group said that it has the legal basis to do so after the City Government failed to act on Bayan’s permit application within the period required by Batas Pambansa 880.

“The reality is that the current government has not shown much difference from Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in terms of economic policies, foreign policies, human rights and governance. The Aquino government may talk big on going after GMA, but it has not filed a single case against the former President,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.

“The Aquino government is insecure and has shown great aversion to criticism. It has detained a former Navy official for giving remarks critical of the government. It plans to curtail the rights of the SONA protesters, in clear violation of the Constitution and BP 880,” Reyes added.

Bayan said that rising unemployment, high prices, poverty, human rights violations and subservience to foreign dictates will be among the issues raised in this year’s SONA protest. There will also be a call for the jailing of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for plunder, election fraud and gross human rights violations.

“If the one-year Ulat sa Bayan last June 30 is any indication, this year’s SONA will again be choc-full of anti-Arroyo rhetoric, but short on actual actions and accomplishments. While it is only right to hold Arroyo accountable for her crimes, she cannot always be Mr. Aquino’s scapegoat. Mr. Aquino should start acknowledging his own government’s failures and weaknesses. He should recognize the dire condition of the country.That would be a first for any SONA, a first for any president,” Reyes said.

Don’t curtail rights

Bayan’s counsel for the SONA protest, the National Union of People’s Lawyers said it will undertake legal action against those seeking to curtail the right to peaceably assembly.

Last Friday, Bayan applied for a permit before the Quezon City government. Under the law, the approving authority has 2 days to act on the permit otherwise it is deemed granted. Until the end of office hours yesterday July 19, no permit has been issued by the QC Department of Public Order and Safety.  A Supreme Court resolution also said that the approving authority cannot arbitrarily change the venue of the rally without informing the applicant and presenting evidence that the rally constitutes clear and present danger against the public. ###

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