As critics protest, Duterte supporters applaud SONA frankness, humor
TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol — Real Estate broker Hazel Panlita cancelled her appointment on Monday afternoon because she wanted to be home in Baclayon town, Bohol and watch the State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Duterte on TV.
Panlita, 36, said the President’s SONA detailed the real picture of what has been happening in the country.
“Slamming the TV networks is an example that he speaks right from his heart. He is the only President who speaks the real SONA,” she added.
Panlita said that while Mr. Duterte was criticized because of his brutal campaign against illegal drugs, many communities all over the Philippines have been happy with the positive effects of the law enforcement campaign.
Willy Ramasola was glued to the TV for President Duterte’s SONA.
“Since I closely follow political events in our country, I’m not very particular with the updates and developments that he intended to report on. I just see the SONA like a two-hour uncensored stand-up
comedy,” Ramasola said.
In Leyte, Nida Boleche said she was satisfied with President Duterte’s SONA.
“I like his campaign against illegal drugs and corruption and I am happy that he will continue these campaigns,” said the 54-year-old mother of seven children, who resides in Tacloban City.
Gerry Despe, of Iloilo City, said the President’s campaign against illegal drugs made him feel safer at night.
“I can sell even late at night because it is less dangerous. My income has increased because I can stay longer,” said Despe, 45, “ice scramble” vendor.
But for Elaine Saneo, nothing had changed since President Duterte took over.
“It is the same with previous administration. I have stopped relying on presidents in improving our lives. Many years ago, my father sent us five siblings to school selling newspapers but our sales now are barely enough to meet our household needs,” said Saneo, 55, newspaper and magazine seller in Iloilo City.
At least 300 militants from various groups gathered in Tagbilaran City on Monday to protest Duterte’s major policies.
The Hugpong sa mga Mag-uumang Bol-anon (Humabol), Gabriela-Bohol, Bayan-Bohol, Kabataan, Anakpawis, Anakbayan, Karapatan and other cause-oriented groups marched from the city plaza toward CPG Avenue and to B. Inting Street near the Tagbilaran City Square.
Group leaders said that protesters were voicing out complaints against martial law in Mindanao, the US involvement in state affairs and the lack of a genuine land reform program.
They also denounced contractualization of employment.
Danilo Olayvar, secretary general of Humabol, said that while the government has pledged to provide free irrigation in the province that would benefit at least 15,000 farmers in Bohol, much more should be done to reinvigorate agriculture.
He said that farmers over the years have suffered low productivity due to the government’s under-investment in agriculture and infrastructure.
Olayvar said they didn’t give Duterte a failing grade after his first year in office.
“We didn’t want to give him a failing grade because he could still represent the voice of the farmers,” he said.
The protest rally ended peacefully with no reported incidence of violence and altercation.
In Tacloban City, members of the militant groups in Eastern Visayas staged their regional protest rally against President Duterte.
They denounced the decision of Mr. Duterte to extend martial law in Mindanao during a rally at the corner of Rizal Avenue, one of the main thoroughfares of the city.
“His decision to extend the martial law in Mindanao is causing so much displacement among the people in Marawi City, in particular. It has also resulted in Islamophobia,” Joshua Sagdullas, regional
secretary-general of Bayan, said.
For Marissa Cabaljao, leader of the People’s Surge, a group composed of supertyphoon “Yolanda” survivors, pushed for the end to the Marawi battles as the families have been the ultimate victims of the
The rally organizers claimed that 2,000 people joined in the 3-kilometer march from UP Tacloban to Rizal Avenue.
But the police said only less than 500 participated in the march. SFM
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