‘Lies,’ is what progressive groups expect to hear from Aquino during SONA

“Unlike the traditional fiesta, where hospitality, generosity, and goodwill are encouraged among the whole community, Aquino’s banquet is depicted [in the effigy] as a lavishly sumptuous feast for a small circle of guests as the people wait for crumbs falling from the table.”

By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
Bulatlat.com

MANILA – Groups are now preparing for their big protest action on Monday, July 22 as President Benigno S. Aquino III would deliver his fourth State of the Nation Address (Sona).

Artists of UgatLahi Artist Collective are now busy finishing the production of the 13-foot high effigy of Aquino for Monday’s protest. The artist group is the creator of effigies being paraded and burned during protest actions. The effigy is one of the highlights of the big protest action and has been a tradition that was sustained since 2000.

“The effigy captures and symbolizes many of the issues raised against the current administration,” said Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes, Jr.

Photo by Anne Marxze D. Umil/Bulatlat.com
Photo by Anne Marxze D. Umil/Bulatlat.com

The effigy is the group’s take on the kind of economic “growth” that the Aquino government would be claiming during the Sona. The group believes that there is no “inclusive growth” or “trickle-down effect” despite the claims that the country’s gross domestic product was the fastest rising in Asia. “Only big business and the proponents of so-called public-private partnership projects are set to benefit from any of the supposed growth. It said that big business engaged in water, power infrastructure are among those benefiting from the economy as millions reel from high prices and fees.”

Photo by Anne Marxze D. Umil/Bulatlat.com
Photo by Anne Marxze D. Umil/Bulatlat.com

This will be portrayed by Aquino’s effigy on Monday. Cris De Leon, spokesperson of the UgatLahi Artist Collective said that for this year, Aquino will be portrayed as a giant feasting on a banquet of policies – privatization, Visiting Forces Agreement, water and electricity rates hike and price increases – which are being imposed by the US, which, in turn, will be depicted as a snake wearing chef’s hat or toque. “The snake is concocting the banquet and around the banquet are the beneficiaries – the businessmen and the landlords pigging out with Aquino,” De Leon told Bulatlat.com.

“Unlike the traditional fiesta, where hospitality, generosity, and goodwill are encouraged among the whole community, Aquino’s banquet is depicted as a lavishly sumptuous feast for a small circle of guests as the people wait for crumbs falling from the table.”

Photo by Anne Marxze D. Umil/Bulatlat.com
Photo by Anne Marxze D. Umil/Bulatlat.com

UgatLahi has helped Bayan in preparing the giant effigies of different presidents since 1999, from deposed president Joseph Estrada, former president and now Pampanga Congresswoman Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to Aquino.

Meanwhile, women’s group Gabriela is also busy preparing for what they call as a “National day of lies of the President.”

“Women are ready to belie Aquino’s bluffs as he delivers his Sona on Monday,” said Joms Salvador, secretary general of Gabriela. She continued, “There is no one who knows the real state of women than us. Aquino’s claim of growth is not felt as women and their families continue to suffer from hunger and oppression.”

Photo by Anne Marxze D. Umil/Bulatlat.com
Photo by Anne Marxze D. Umil/Bulatlat.com

For Monday, the groups are preparing umbrellas and rain coats stating their calls and demands for national industrialization and “No to Privatization.” Their cultural group Sining Lila also revealed their protest jingle for Monday. To the tune of popular tagalong song “Lord, Patawad!’ by singer Basilyo, the group would express their disgust on Aquino.

The teachers group also anticipated the “lies” of Aquino when he delivers his Sona on Monday. In a press conference on Saturday, July 20, the group said Aquino would only report to the nation his lies about the government’s achievements in the education sector.

“We welcome the hiring of 56,085 teachers; this is the result of our long time demand to the government. But there are still shortages. Resources for the implementation of the K to 12 alone is still incomplete,” said Joselyn Martinez, vice chairwoman of Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT). She added that the completed modules for teachers for grades 7 and 8 are only up to the second grading period. There are no textbooks provided for grades 7 and 8. “They are still using the old textbooks because new books for this new curriculum have not been provided by the Department of Education,” Martinez added.

Photo by Anne Marxze D. Umil/Bulatlat.com
Photo by Anne Marxze D. Umil/Bulatlat.com

She said that while teachers strive to teach their students with the limited resources, the government seems not satisfied with their performance. France Castro, secretary general of ACT, lambasted the Performance–Based Bonus, which, they said, is deceptive. “The teachers are always doing the best they could to teach their students. Instead of giving us the salary increase, this (PBB) is what the government is giving us.”

“This government is implementing a wage freeze among teachers. What we need is an increase in our wages and not benefits that only malign the dignity of teachers. We deserve more,” said Benjie Valbuena, chairman of ACT. The group will join the big protest action on Monday carrying their banners calling for the welfare of teachers and students. ()

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  1. I every time spent my half an hour to read this blog’s articles or reviews every day along with a mug of coffee.

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