Left makes ‘historic’ march to Batasan; ‘friendly’ teachers seek pay hike | Inquirer News
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Left makes ‘historic’ march to Batasan; ‘friendly’ teachers seek pay hike

TODAY will be historic for the Left as its members will be allowed to stage a demonstration 300 meters from the House of Representatives where President Duterte will deliver his first State of the Nation Address (Sona).

Renato Reyes Jr., Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) secretary general, said the President himself granted the request of left-leaning groups to approach the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City.

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“That’s historic. We thank the President for being very open, not like his predecessors. The rally will be peaceful for sure. But these new developments will definitely energize the crowd,” Reyes told

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Reyes, who has been joining Sona rallies since 1992, said this would be the first time in recent history that protesters would be allowed to gather near the House.

“I’ve attended the Sona rally since 1992 as a freshman in (the University of the Philippines). The closest I’ve been was at the corner of Sandiganbayan (on) Commonwealth (Avenue),” he said.

Under the Aquino administration, hundreds of security forces blocked Commonwealth Avenue to prevent protesters from marching to the House of Representatives.

For several years, container vans, fire trucks, concrete barriers and barbed wires were set up ahead of Sona rallies.

Bayan invited the President and Philippine National Police Chief Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa to march with thousands of rallyists from Mindanao, Bicol, Southern Tagalog, Central Luzon and Northern Luzon.

Duterte would be the first sitting President to grace a Sona rally should he decide to accept Bayan’s invitation.

While the Left gave the assurance that the rally would be in support of the Duterte administration, Reyes said they would also call for the release of political prisoners and the end of military operations in the countryside.

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They also called on Duterte to uphold due process and respect human rights amid the apparent rise in vigilante killings targeting suspected drug users and pushers, many of whom come from poor families.

Meanwhile, several teachers’ groups yesterday said they would join the “friendly” picket to remind Mr. Duterte of his promise to double their salaries.

“We will be in the streets not to curse the President but rather to remind him of his campaign promise that he would double teachers’ salaries,” said Benjo Basas, national chair of the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition.

Basas said they would join party-list group Ating Guro to push for the enactment of the P10,000 additional compensation for teachers and education personnel on top of the Salary Standardization Law.

The proposal was based on the original bill filed by Sen. Alan Cayetano during the 14th Congress.  “We are hopeful that the President will soon announce the salary upgrade for public school teachers,” he said.

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TAGS: Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, Batasan, Bayan, Duterte Administration, Duterte Sona, Renato Reyes Jr., Sona
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