A 9,000-strong crowd composed of members of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan’s Southern Tagalog, Bicol and Mindanao chapters are headed to Quezon City for President Rodrigo Duterte’s first State of the Nation Address (Sona), bringing with them a newfound hope that the current administration will address their longstanding concerns.
The group, which initially converged in Calamba, Laguna, Saturday morning, were greeted by Bayan-NCR members at the Alabang viaduct in Muntinlupa City later that afternoon.
Bayan-NCR spokesperson Mark Louie Aquino said that while they are happy that the new President is more supportive of leftist groups, they remain critical of his actions and policies especially when it comes to issues of militarization of Lumad communities, contractualization, power outages especially in Bicol, union-busting and the K-12 educational system.
Aquino said they also condemn the recent spate of extrajudicial killings of suspected drug criminals, which has been fueled by Duterte’s strong campaign against illegal drugs.
“We support the campaign to end drug crimes, but lately we’ve been seeing a pattern that most of those being killed are just small-time players,” said Aquino.
Still, Aquino said they are “giving [Duterte] a chance” to prove himself, at least in his first 100 days in office.
He added that like at the President’s inauguration, Bayan is expecting their leaders to be allowed inside the Session Hall of Batasang Pambansa on Monday.