People's SONA 2008 in the USA


Los Angeles     New York City  


Click here for Video from BALITANG AMERICA


July 28, 2008


People's SONA at the Philippine Consulate in Los Angeles

People's SONA at the Philippine Consulate on Fifth Avenue, New York City

Photos courtesy of BAYAN - USA


BAYAN USA – Southern California


On July 28, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo delivers her annual so-called State of the Nation Address (SONA). Like an empty can and a scared puppy, she will rattle and yelp once more on her purported achievements in front of her clique of yes-men and fortified by thousands of military and police personnel. But the vast majority of Filipino people and BAYAN-USA Southern California believe and feel otherwise. Like the latest tropical storm that sank the Princess of the Stars ferry and killed hundreds of passengers, the Arroyo regime is dragging down the Philippines in economic crisis and political turmoil.

Economic crisis. Inflation reached 9.4% last May. Prices of food and basic commodities continue to soar. The price of oil is going up weekly. Rice prices rose by 37%. Power rates have remained high with many unjust charges being passed on to consumers. Unemployment is prevalent. Poverty is widespread. Thousands seek uncertain jobs overseas.

Political instability. Corruption is rampant and unbridled, involving the insatiable Gloria Arroyo, her husband and her cronies—outstanding of this corruption is the US$329 million ZTE-National Broadband Network project. The Arroyo government continues to distort the constitution to fit to its own schemes. Bribery is the word of the day to award Arroyo’s lapdogs. Amidst the devastation of Typhoon Frank that killed hundreds and destroyed the livelihood of the Filipino people, Arroyo and her crew of 60 congresspersons and 10 cabinet officials wasted millions of the people’s money on her recent extravagant trip to the US.

Today, human rights violations continue. Militarization is widespread in the provinces. Trumped-up charges are being filed against progressives. According to human rights alliance Karapatan, in 2008 alone, there have already been 13 extrajudicial killings, 6 enforced disappearances, 5 cases of torture and 25 cases of illegal arrests.

The United States continues to lord over the Philippines through its willing puppet Arroyo regime. The US government uses its citizens’ tax dollars to ensure the safety of its economic interests, providing the Arroyo administration with valuable economic, political and military support—including US$30 million in foreign military financing. It is as plain as the nose on one’s face that RP-US relations will not change whoever wins in the November US presidential elections. Military exercises and intervention in the guise of fighting the "war on terror" will continue in the Philippines.

Today, the Filipino people do not face the ever-worsening economic and political crisis sitting down. To them, there is no other choice but to fight the puppet, fascist, and corrupt US-Arroyo government. They know that only in ousting the US-backed Arroyo regime can the dire crisis be stopped and real changes for the betterment of the people start.

It is in this light that BAYAN USA Southern California enjoins all friends and concerned citizens to demand a stop to the US government using our tax dollars to shore up the oppressive and suppressive Arroyo regime. Let us support the Filipino people in their pursuit for genuine sovereignty and prosperity, with lasting peace and justice!

Oust the US puppet, fascist, corrupt and oppressive Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo regime!
No to death squads sponsored by US tax dollars! Long Live International Solidarity!

Kick out Gloria! Oppose her anti-youth and anti-people policies!

The numbers are out and if you thought going to school in the US was bad, try going in the Philippines! For every 100 students who enter the first grade, only 65 will graduate sixth grade. By the time high school graduation comes around, only 43 will be left. Of those original 100 students, only two will enter college.

Here in Southern California we’ve seen what cuts in the education budget has done with tuition fees going up for community colleges, Cal States and the UC’s. In the Philippines, there have been tuition increases at colleges of up to a whopping 300%. Under the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo administration, access to education has become far out of reach for the majority of youth in the Philippines. Education has been increasingly geared towards the wealthy privileged few, as schools are becoming privatized and commercialized. Education programs are catering to the needs of foreign businesses and not the needs of the people in the country.

As if all that’s not enough, Gloria’s economic policies have been geared towards the profit of big businesses. This, mixed with the unchecked corruption that plagues her administration, is largely responsible for the increasing gas prices along with soaring prices of basic goods like rice. These conditions intensify the hardships faced by youth and their families.

There aren’t many options for youth who are out of school with unemployment continuing to rise. Even with a college degree, many make the tough decision of separating from their families in search of better paying jobs overseas, where they are more easily taken advantage of by their employers.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that statistics like these equal a failing grade for Arroyo and her administration. Fed up with the disastrous situation, thousands of students in the Philippines walked out of their schools last week and took it to the streets to call for the rollback of tuition and to protest against campus repression. [insert AB pic] Youth and students will take it to the streets again on July 28th, marching side by side with the rest of their communities, expressing their outrage. Meanwhile, Arroyo will make her annual State of the Nation Address (SONA) spitting lie after lie that the Philippines is prospering.
Anakbayan Los Angeles will be right there alongside the people of the Philippines as we demonstrate in front of the Los Angeles Philippine Consulate showing that in fact the Philippines is a sinking ship from which Gloria needs to be kicked out.

Kabataan at bayan, mag-aklas! Youth and people, rise up!




Philippine State of the Nation Address (SONA) Protest Action
Monday, July 28, 2008, 5:30 PM
Philippine Consulate,
3600 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90010
(between Harvard & Kingsley)



News Release
July 30, 2008

Reference: Christina Hilo, Northeast Coordinator, BAYAN USA, email:



New York-- Approximately 70 Filipinos stood in front of the Philippine Consulate on Fifth Avenue along Fifth Avenue last Monday to protest the scheduled "State of the Nation Address" or SONA delivered just hours before in Quezon City by Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. The contingent, organized by Fil-Am alliance BAYAN USA, was a vibrant display of young and old who came together to project the "true and real state of the nation, the people's SONA."

While passersby looked on, the youth of the contingent acted out a street play of the Philippine situation under Arroyo. In a vivid display of street theater, a cardboard cut-out of the "MV Pilipinas" was a ship sinking amidst a thunderous storm. The inept captain of the ship, a "moled-dwende" named Gloria, does not know how to steer the ship in the right direction, and in her frustration plots to abandon the ship when the storm get too violent. At least four bolts of lightning hit the ship, symbolizing "rice crisis", "labor export policy", "corruption", and "political killings & abductions". In a panic to save her own skin while the passengers of the ship face death by sinking, Captain Gloria flies away to the US. The sink proceeds to sink, engulfed by the tall waves while the captain flies away to save herself. The parable was taken from real life events in the Philippines last month when the MV Princess of the Star was hit hard by Typhoon Frank and sank, killing over 900 passengers. Upon news of the tragedy, Arroyo was in the US on a fundraising tour and decided to stay, rather than return to the Philippines to address the disaster.

"This may be a true story of what happened with the MV Princess of the Stars, but it is not too different from the actual state of the Philippine nation," states Gary Labao of the NY Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP), a member organization of BAYAN USA. "Arroyo pushes that the Philippines is experiencing economic growth with no mention of the intensifying socio-economic crisis. She intends to cover up the truth from the Filipino people, but the people cannot be fooled."

Speakers from NYCHRP, Anakbayan NY/NJ, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE), Kabalikat Domestic Workers Support, Kapatirang Pilipino, NAFCON, Philippine Forum and others addressed the rice crisis, energy crisis, oil crisis, high tuition fees, lack of jobs, the value added tax or VAT, overseas remittance taxes, and human rights violations as among the indicators that the Philippines is not experiencing progress, but a severe crisis instead.

"We were here in front of the same consulate in 2001 crying Oust Erap. History has proven that peacefully ousting a corrupt president is possible. There is no reason we cannot Oust Gloria," stated BAYAN USA Secretary-General Berna Ellorin. In 2001, many of the same organizations staged weekly pickets in front of the Philippine Consulate, until such time the former President Joseph "Erap" Estrada stepped down amidst popular protests in Manila and around the world.

The Manhattan action was held as part of a BAYAN USA national day of action in the US, with simultaneous protests in Los Angeles and San Francisco.###