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Bayan asserts right to protest, holds SONA ng Bayan

Posted on 22 July 2013 by admin

News Release

July 22, 2013

Even as the local government denied its petition for a permit to rally at the Batasang Pambansa, multisectoral group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) asserted its right to peaceably assemble and protest the anti-people policies of President Benigno Aquino III in today’s annual State of the Nation Address (SONA) of the Chief Executive.

“Nothing can stop us. Not the rains and certainly not the repression by the regime. The SONA ng Bayan is our response to three years of the Aquino regime, the absence of meaningful changes, and intensifying attacks on the rights and welfare of the people, especially the poor,” said Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes.

Bayan noted that the last three years have seen the widening gap between the rich and the poor, rising unemployment and poverty, and the escalation of prices.

“The so-called economic growth has benefited only the few ruling elite. While the people go hungry, the rulers feast on congressional pork and reap profits from privatization schemes,” Reyes said.

Selected indicators in the first three years of the Aquino presidency
Indicator Start of Aquino’s term Present
No. of poor families 8.9 million 10.5 million
No. of hungry families 3.6 million 4.1 million
No. of unemployed workers 9.5 million 11.6 million
Wealth of the 40 richest Filipinos $22.8 billion $47.4 billion
Water rates (Maynilad, Manila Water all-in tariffs) P29.98 to P33.08

per cubic meter

P37.29 to P46.72

per cubic meter

Power rates (Meralco distribution rates) P0.85 per kilowatt-hour P1.22 per kilowatt-hour
Oil prices
Diesel P34.25 per liter P42.40
Gasoline P44.00 per liter P51.60
LPG P576.50 – P651.50

per 11-kg cylinder tank

P617.00 – P745.00

per 11-kg cylinder tank

Notes: No. of poor families, hungry families, unemployed workers, and wealth of 40 richest Filipinos compare annual averages in 2010 and 2012; Water rates compare July 1, 2010 and July 3, 2013 rates; Power rates compare June 2010 and July 2013 rates; Oil prices compare June 29, 2010 and July 9, 2013 prices

Compiled by Bayan using data from the SWS surveys, Forbes magazine, MWSS Regulatory Office, Meralco, and DOE

Aside from the worsening economic crisis, the group emphasized that the first half of the Aquino presidency has been marked by three years of empty rhetoric about good governance and three years of impunity.

“Human rights continue to suffer setbacks through Aquino’s counter-insurgency program. Even the right to peaceably assemble is being curtailed by Aquino as the government is eager to show the world that constitutional rights do not matter when the President is giving a speech,” said Reyes.

Furthermore, the group noted that while Aquino talks tough against China, he has surrendered the national sovereignty to the US by allowing de facto American military bases in the country.

Some 100 foreign human rights defenders also attended today’s rally to monitor the human rights compliance of the Philippine government.

A 13-foot effigy of Aquino is among the highlights of the SONA ng Bayan. The effigy depicts the so-called economic growth being enjoyed by only a few ruling elite. The menu of the SONA “banquet” will include “lotsa pork, hefty servings of PPP, and expensive water from private companies”. (END)

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