Protesters to hold ‘People’s Sona’ at St. Peter’s Church instead of Batasan
Unlike last year, protesters would not be marching towards the Batasang Pambansa complex for President Rodrigo Duterte’s second State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Monday.
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) Secretary General Renato Reyes on Wednesday said progressive groups will instead hold a “People’s Sona” program rally in front of St. Peter’s Parish Church along Commonwealth Avenue.
Reyes said the IBP Road, which leads to the Batasang Pambansa complex that is the home of the House of Representatives, does not have enough space to accommodate the massive number of groups expected to join the Sona rally this year.
“Pinili na namin na hindi lalapit sa Batasan, dahil po masikip yung kalsada at maaaring hindi kami kumasya sa dami ng mga grupo na sasama ngayong taon,” Reyes said during the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) dialogue with community leaders and stakeholders for Sona 2018.
(We chose not to go near Batasan because the streets are small and we might not fit because of the large number of people who will join this year.)
The proposed rally site is over 2 kilometers away from the Batasang Pambansa complex where protesters traditionally hold their programs during the President’s Sona.
Last year, the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) allowed protesters to hold their program along the IBP Road which is some 70 meters away from the complex.
Significantly wider than the IBP Road, Commonwealth Avenue is the widest highway in the Philippines with parts spanning up to 12 lanes on both sides.
National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Director Chief Supt. Guillermo Eleazar said the PNP will not deploy armed civil disturbance management troops and will only install concrete barriers to block protesters instead of barbed wires and container vans. /muf
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