It’s about time.
The police should have allowed rallyists to set up near Batasang Pambansa from the very start, Anakbayan national chair Vencer Crisostomo told INQUIRER.net on Monday during a major rally in support of President Rodrigo Duterte’s first State of the Nation Address (Sona).
“Dati naman dapat. At dati naman dapat ginalang nila ang karapatan ng taumbayan, matagal na dapat itong ginawa, kasi ang mensahe nito kita ninyo mapayapa,” he said. “Pwede naman pala maging mapayapa. Pwede naman pala na kung progresibo yung gobyerno, di sila mananakit, manghaharang, maglalagay ng barbed wire.”
(This should have been done a long time ago. They should have respected the right of the people. This should have been done before because you can see that it is peaceful. It can be peaceful after all. It is possible for a progressive government not to block rallyists.)
He said if not for Duterte they would have still been blocked by barbed wire and policemen.
“So sana tuloy tuloy ito, at ang mensahe dito, tumimo sa kanila, ay hindi nila kailangan maging kaaway ng mamamayan. Dapat pumanig pa nga sila para sa pagkilos ng mga tao,” he said.
(I hope this will continue. And the message here that they should remember that they do not need to be the enemy of the people. They should side with the people.)
As of 3 p.m., Crisostomo said the rallyists have reached 10,000 already, especially since thousands traveled from different regions, including those from Mindanao. He said the crowd extended to the highway.
“Pero masaya kami na nakapasok dito, na dapat naman talaga ang Sona tungkol sa mamamayan yan,” he said.
(But we are happy that we are allowed to go near because the Sona should really be for the public.)
Unlike previous years, the militant groups were allowed to hold their program 600 meters away from Batasan. There was no barbed wire or clashes with the police. Although 6,000 police were deployed in the area, the officers looked more relaxed. Philippine National Police (PNP) chair Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa even shook hands with militant leaders.
Crisostomo said the rallyists want to urge Duterte to pursue his promises to bring change and reforms in agriculture and labor.
“At yung mga kokontra sa kaniya, sa mga programa niyang makamamamayan, eh tatapatan natin ng pagkilos ng taumbayan,” he said.
(And those who will counter him in his pursuit for pro-people programs will be met by protests.)
Crisostomo said he feels that this year’s rally is the largest and most representative since it involved groups from other regions.
“Ang pagbabago nasa taumbayan at sa tuloy tuloy nating pagkilos, dahil marami pang kailangan trabahuhin at marami pang kontra bida na nasa eksena pa ngayon. Kailangan mamayan ang kumikilos para lumaya sila,” he said.
(Change will come from the people, from continuous actions because there are still a lot of things to work on and there are still many who oppose. The people will need to act to free themselves.)
Crisostomo said they will support Duterte but they will still remain critical and vigilant, especially when it comes to the economy.
A lot still needs to be done, he said.
The youth leader said the people will be happy if Duterte mentions the end of contractualization and the K-12 program, the distribution of land to farmers and other policies during his Sona. RAM/rga