Despite heavy rains that poured past noon, protesters on Monday, July 25, took to Commonwealth Avenue near the Batasang Pambansa Complex where President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. will deliver his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) later in the afternoon.

With streamers and effigies in tow, they called on Marcos to cite concrete plans in resolving the country’s economic and health crisis in his first State of the Nation Address (SONA).

 

 

 

Around 5,000 protesters gathered on Commonwealth Avenue on Monday, July 25, based on police estimates, to call on Marcos to present concrete plans to resolve the country’s economic and health crisis. Photo by Raffy Lerma

 

Cops mobilize to prevent protesters from proceeding to the Batasan Pambansa, where President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. delivered his first State of the Nation Address. Photo by Raffy Lerma

 

In a theatrical form of political protest, a 12-foot tall effigy showed Marcos Jr. seated on a throne wearing a party hat, a red bow, and two horns that showed the portraits of his parents — the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos and his mother Imelda Marcos.

In front of Marcos Jr’s image, a plate showing the Philippine map and a set of utensils were laid on a table covered with the flags of the Philippines and China. In an ABS-CBN report, Bayan visual artist Max Santiago said he sees the president as a “party boy,” a comment reminiscent of the lavish parties he threw in Malacañang just days after he was sworn in on June 30.

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) also called the caricature “Mad in Malacañang,” a play on the soon-to-be-released movie produced by presidential sister Sen. Imee Marcos, “Maid in Malacañang.” The Marcoses intended the film to show how the family fled Malacañang on Feb. 25, 1986 amid the People Power Revolution. For Bayan, the effigy showed how detached the “party-boy” president had been from the reality of millions of Filipinos facing multiple crises.

The protesters destroyed the effigy at the end of their program. Bayan and Kilusang Mayo Uno were among the civil society organizations that led the “People’s SONA.” The group presented a “9-point People’s Agenda for Change” including tax relief for consumers, revival of the agricultural sector, adoption of land reform, and the government’s commitment to human rights and environmental protection.

 

Bayan visual artist Max Santiago portrays President Ferdinand Marcos Jr as a “party boy,” reminiscent of the lavish parties he threw in Malacañang just days after he was sworn in on June 30. Photo by Raffy Lerma.

 

Protesters destroy the effigy of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr at the end of the 'People's SONA' program. Photo by Raffy Lerma. 

 

Last week, Bayan was denied by the Quezon City Department of Public Order and Safety a permit to hold a protest along Batasan Road. The local government office argued that the location was “not a freedom park” and expressed concerns that the rallies would affect the normal flow of traffic along the thoroughfare.

The Philippine National Police earlier said rallies on the day of the SONA would only be allowed in freedom parks. Critics said the decision was “unconstitutional”.

On Friday, July 22, the Quezon City government backtracked and released a statement allowing the activities of progressive and pro-administrations groups along Commonwealth Avenue. Along IBP road, also near the Batasang Pambansa, a concert led by groups supportive of the Marcos was scheduled from 2pm to 6pm.

The Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) also gathered in front of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) office to “serenade” the new Secretary, Antonia “Toni” Yulo Loyzaga. ATM said it is open to working with the new environment chief who earlier pledged that her leadership will be “democratic”. END

 

TOP PHOTO by Raffy Lerma


Follow PCIJ on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.