Bayan to greet SONA with protests

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/21 July) – As promised, a federation of militant and progressive sectoral organizations here have launched a series of mass mobilizations that will culminate in time for President Benigno Simeon Aquino III’s second State of the Nation Address come Monday.

Today, urban poor communities under the Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap-Northern Mindanao Region (Kadamay-NMR), a member organization of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN), gathered in this city’s largest public market to show how much the recently approved increase in the Cost of Living Allowance (Cola) on top of the region’s minimum wage of Php269 could buy.

Dubbed “Maria Went to Town,” urban poor militants staged a mock dress up relay game at Cogon Market to dramatize how hard it is for the family’s traditional budget keeper, the Nanay, to fit Php286 for the basic needs of a family of six.

“PNoy’s meager and palliative response to the needs of the poor and marginalized is pathetic. While prices of basic commodities, petrol products, water and electric bills soar unabated, our workers’ wages are nailed,” said Francisco Pagayamanan, Kadamay-NMR spokesperson.

Simultaneous to the mock relay game in Cogon Market, the protesters held a “mobile picket” program where urban poor leaders presented the “genuine” state of the urban poor in the city.

“Not unless you increase the buying power of the working sector, by enacting House Bill 375 (Php125 Wage Hike Bill), all of PNoy’s palliative solutions will remain as a catchy blurb as it really is,” said Wildon Barros, Kilusang Mayo Uno-Northern Mindanao Region spokesperson.

Meanwhile, the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas-Northern Mindanao (KMP-NMR) announced they will go to the streets in time for President Aquino’s SONA.

Richard Colao, KMP-NMR secretary general, said they will demand everything the President had promised from his seminal presidential campaign slogan “Matuwid na Daan” to his first SONA commitment “Kayo ang boss ko.”

“We have seen how opposite PNoy’s statements are to what is happening in the ground. Apparently, we are not his boss but the multinational and transnational agricultural corporations with their plantations, the foreign mining companies, and his continued collusion with the landed class by proliferating the fake and dubious CARPER (Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program-Extension with Reforms),” said Colao.

“If we analyze it, PNoy has been in the forefront of anti-people and anti-peasant policies. Case in point, if we recall the promises he made during his last SONA, there were no mention of a comprehensive program for the peasant sector,” he pointed out. (Cong B. Corrales / MindaNews)