July 18, 2013
BAYAN prepares 13-foot effigy of Pres. Aquino for SONA
As the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) prepares for the nationally-coordinated 2013 People’s Protest on July 22, Monday, its volunteer visual artists are also busy at work on this year’s effigy of the Philippine President.
The production of an effigy, or giant paper-mache sculpture, of the President is one of the highlights of the BAYAN rally and is a tradition that it has sustained for more than a decade since 2000.
“The effigy captures and symbolizes many of the issues raised against the current administration,” said Renato Reyes Jr., BAYAN Secretary General.
This year, BAYAN reveals, President Aquino will be portrayed as a 13-feet high giant feasting on a banquet, or “piging” in Filipino. Unlike the traditional fiesta, where hospitality, generosity, and goodwill is encouraged among the whole community, PNoy’s banquet is depicted as a lavishly sumptuous feast for a small circle of guests as the people wait for crumbs falling from the table.
The effigy is the group’s take on the kind of economic “growth” that the Aquino government would be claiming during the SONA. The group believes that there is no “inclusive growth” or “trickle-down growth” despite the claims that the Philippine Gross Domestic Product was the fastest rising in Asia. Only big business and the proponents of so-called “public-private partnership” projects are set to benefit from any of the supposed growth. It said that big business engaged in water, power, infrastructure were among those benefiting from economy as millions reel from high prices and fees.
The group also believes that any effort to change the Constitution and allow 100% foreign ownership of land and utilities would also result to a widening gap between the rich and poor as the move will only benefit local and foreign big business. Already the National Statistical Coordination Board has recently said that the gap between the richest and poorest Filipinos have increased over the past years.
“The people are not invited to this exclusive dinner party by the ruling elite. Look who’s “pigging out” with Aquino as the nation goes hungry. This government believes that growth will trickle down to the poor but that strategy has proven ineffective. People are being made to wait for crumbs to trickle down even as the richest 1% see their wealth double,” said Cris de Leon, UgatLahi Spokesperson.
“Sa handaan at pagdiriwang sa SONA, hindi kasama ang masa. Hindi sila nakikinabang sa anumang huwad na pag-unlad na ipagmamalaki ng Pangulo,” de Leon added.
Each year since 1999, UGATLahi has helped BAYAN prepare giant effigies of different presidents, from Joseph Estrada to Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to Benigno Aquino III. This will be their fourth effigy of Pres. Aquino for the annual SONA protests. Visual artists and BAYAN volunteers are currently completing the effigy.
The nationally-coordinated protest by BAYAN will include a multi-sectoral mobilization along Commonwealth Avenue on July 22. Various foreign observers are also expected to attend the event. ###