People's SONA 2009 in iLOILO


July 27, 2009



Photos courtesy of BAYAN - Panay



Press Release
July 28, 2009


Iloilo City – Members of the militant Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) here denounced the ninth State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo yesterday (July 27).

According to Hope Hervilla, BAYAN Regional Chairperson, President Arroyo’s SONA is replete with distorted figures of economic growth, empty promises, and combative comments against her critics. “The Filipino people have not felt the economy getting better. It is not true that our economy remains resilient amidst global crisis. Poverty incidence even worsened between 2003 and 2006, a surprising turn of event considering that ‘GDP has been growing faster’ ”, said Hervilla.

Arroyo’s overflowing arrogance via her usual “mataray” attack against her critics showed her refusal to listen to the needs of the people. “We strongly criticize Arroyo’s presidency for her failure to create more stable jobs and to give more support to social services like health, education, and housing. If she is indeed working hard each day, these fundamental problems should have been properly addressed to”, added Hervilla.

“The people truly deserve a government that works just as hard as they do. But in the case of President Arroyo, the fruits of her self-declared hard labor must be felt by ordinary Filipino people. Arroyo might be working hard to amass wealth for her and her family and allies. No wonder her assets jumped from P67 million in 2001 to P144 million in 2008, excluding her hidden wealth!, exclaimed Hervilla.

BAYAN also expressed disgust of GMA’s silence over charter change and constituent assembly in yesterday’s (July 27) SONA. “There is a strong reason for us to double our vigilance and effort to stop her from making cunning moves to remain in power, even beyond May 2010 elections. We will continue to march down the streets and call for her ouster”, added Hervilla.

Yesterday, thousands of members of BAYAN capped their “Lakbayan sang Pumuluyo” with a program at the Iloilo Provincial Capitol. Leaders of various organizations and groups took turns in throwing mud at the picture of President Arroyo that they put up at the stage. “This is our way of expressing our disgust over the anti-people policies of President Arroyo”, said Hervilla.

The rallyists were dripping wet as heavy rains poured down while they are having their program. #




BAYAN Leads Lakbayan vs GMA’s SONA

Iloilo – Members of the militant Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) –Panay will spearhead a “Lakbayan sang Pumuluyo” as an expression of the people’s protest to President Gloria Arroyo’s ninth State of the Nation Address.

An island-wide activity, Lakbayan will be participated in by the provincial chapters of BAYAN Panay. “This is the first time in twelve years that BAYAN Panay will lead this mobilization. We are very willing to be into a long march because the eight years of rule of President Gloria Arroyo is marked with historic joblessness, poverty, rampant corruption, and political repression. She is even maneuvering to extend her stay in power via the constituent assembly courtesy of her allies in the House of Representatives. This is too much for the suffering Filipino people”, said Edgar Pelayo, Secertary General of BAYAN-Panay.

In Iloilo, the Ilonggos’ Movement Against Arroyo’s Charter Change (I-MARCH), in cooperation with BAYAN, will lead the Lakbayan to start on July 26. The march will start from Miag-ao to Oton, and from Janiuay to Pavia. The protesters will continue their march on the 27th at 8::00am going to the Iloilo Provincial Capitol Grounds for a program at 1:00 pm.

According to Fr. Mark Lester Senina of the Jaro Social Action Center and lead convener of I-MARCH, now is the time to send a stronger reminder to President Arroyo to step down from presidency on 2010 and not to seek any elective position when her term expires. “We say enough of eight long years of economic hardship under Arroyo’s presidency! We denounce charter change before May 2010 elections via the Constituent Assembly. We must act now for the healing of our nation”, said Fr. Senina.

According to Cristina Alcones, BAYAN Capiz spokesperson, the Lakbayan is a proof of the utter discontent of the Filipino people against Arroyo. “The people have no choice but to march down the streets, rally thousands of protesters, and condemn the ninth and hopefully the last SONA of Arroyo that is full of lies. We have not felt the economic development her administration is bragging about”, added Alcones.

BAYAN Capiz will start their protest with a “Kampuhang Bayan” at Ivisan Civic Center, Ivisan, Capiz on July 26 at 6:00pm. They will start the “Lakbayan” the following day from Ivisan via Lanot Road to the Roxas City Plaza Bandstand for a cultural program

BAYAN Aklan provincial chairperson George Calaor warned the Arroyo government of more and bigger mobilizations if she insists to stay in power with the Charter Change. “Aklanons will always be willing to uphold democracy against tyranny, the reason why we will join the Lakbayan to start on July 26”, said Calaor.

BAYAN Aklan will start their march at Makato Public Plaza around 4pm. They will light a hundred torches as they are about to enter the town of Kalibo at around 7:00pm. The torch parade will proceed to Kalibo Magsaysay Park for an overnight “Kampuhang Bayan”.

“On the 27th, we will highlight our protest with a “Breakfast of the Poor” at 8:00am to show the worsening hunger and poverty of the people amidst promises and lies of economic development. We will then march to crossing Banga & New Washington for the culminating program”, added Calaor.

“We are going top make our island-wide Lakbayan great as Gloria Arroyo will have a litany of “Great Lies” on her SONA. We hope that more people will be joining for this two-day activity. Everything is set for this very noble protest action for the benefit of the oppressed Filipino people”, added Pelayo.

BAYAN Panay and its provincial chapters thanked all those who supported and will be supporting the Lakabayan. “Without the help of kind-hearted Panayanons, we will not be able to come up with this great mobilization. Our heartfelt thanks, indeed”, ended Pelayo.#



Lakbayan PushesThrough Despite Rains

Iloilo – Members of the militant BAGONG ALYANSANG MAKABAYAN (BAYAN) – Panay showed their resolve to push through the Panay-wide Lakbayan despite heavy rains.

Marchers from Guimbal, Iloilo were drenched with rain. According to Sunny Talibo, chairperson of Federation of Iloilo Farmers Association, the protesters even welcomed the rain because the march began without the scorching heat of sun. “We were all thankful that we were blessed with a favorable weather condition. We were not fainting. We were not too dehydrated. The rains can’t stop us from moving on”, said Talibo whose group is the bulk of the protesters coming from Tubungan and Igbaras.

In Capiz, while the protesters assemble at Ivisan Civic Center, the rain also poured in. Kalibo marchers were also drenched with rain while getting ready to march off at Makato Public Plaza.

“Nothing can stop us from going on, even rains. We believe we are blessed. The suffering of the people with Gloria Arroyo’s anti people policies and attempts to change the constitution inspire us to brave the rains”, said Edgar Pelayo, BAYAN-Panay Secretary General.

BAYAN Panay with its provincial chapters will spearhead a big island-wide rally and program tomorrow to welcome President Arroyo’s ninth State of the Nation Address with a protest.#



Groups Express Dismay Over GMA’s SONA

Iloilo City – Conveners of the Ilonggos’ Movement Against Arroyo’s Charter Change (I-MARCH) here expressed dismay and disgust over President Arroyo’s ninth and presumably the last State of the Nation Address (SONA) yesterday (July 27).

Nothing was mentioned about charter change, and we see that President Arroyo never tried to allay the fears of the Filipino for the change in the constitution, especially before the May 2010 elections, Anything could happen from now on and this requires more vigilance from us”, said Rosemarie Doromal of I-MARCH and lead convener of the Alliance for Truth, Transparency, Justice and Accountability (ATTJA).

I-MARCH earlier challenged President Arroyo to categorically state that there will be no move to amend or revise the constitution via the Constituent Assembly (Con Ass) and she is stepping down from presidency in year 2010. She should not also seek elective position when her term expires.

The group also said that Arroyo can still run for congresswoman in Pampanga next year and become the Speaker of the House of the Congress. “She can even be the powerful prime minister if charter change will take place allowing a shift in the form of government”, said Doromal.

“Although she got more than a hundred applause mostly from her allies, she was on an offensive mode against those who criticize her administration. She must have taken these criticisms as gauge on how the economy performed during her eight years of governance”, said Atty. Joshua Alim of the United Opposition in Iloilo and a convener of I-MARCH.

The group further said that Arroyo’s SONA will always remind them to continue their campaign against Arroyo-backed charter change. “We cannot afford to just sit down and wait for the unfolding of events without registering our protest. We must fight against the corrupt and bankrupt governance of President Arroyo”, ended Doromal. #





On GMA’s 9th SONA
Eight Years of Deeper Philippine Underdevelopment:
The Legacy of Arroyo Governance

On President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s ninth and hopefully the last State of the Nation Address, we enjoin the entire nation to think back to the eight years of her presidency.

Malacanang officials said that the SONA that we will hear on July 27 is the product of the most and the best possible number of inputs from government as well as the best thinking that can be brought to bear on these issues.

But surely, the figures that will be presented showing signs of an economy finally taking off have not been felt by the largest number of the Filipino people.

• The period 2001-2008 is the longest period of sustained high unemployment in the country’s history. True unemployment rate is averaged at some 11.2%;
• The agriculture sector has fallen to its smallest share in gross domestic product (GDP) in the country’s history – 18.1% in 2008;
• Rice imports increased 280% from 639,000 tons in 2001 to a record 2.4 million tons in 2008. The price of rice increased 68% between 2000, the year before Arroyo came to power, and 2008;
• According to NSCB, there is 2.1 million increase in the number of poor Filipinos between 2000 and 2006 – to 27.6 million in 2006;
• The total amount of kickbacks, ill-gotten wealth and payoffs involved in just 16 major corruption cases reaches as much as P20.9 billion (US$430 million). The amount remains substantial even if the interrupted NBN-ZTE and Cyber-Education deals are excluded.

With these glaring realities, President Arroyo is still able to maneuver within the House of Representatives to approve House Resolution No. 1109, seeking to amend or revise the Constitution for term extension, removal of nationalist and protectionist provisions, or change in the system of government. Hence, the entire nation is beset with the move to change the charter before the May 2010 elections.

We say, enough of eight long years of economic misery! Enough of Arroyo’s presidency!

On the occassion of the 9th State of the Nation Address, we challenge President Arroyo to categorically state that she will be stepping down from presidency on 2010 and not to seek any elective position when her term expires.

It is time for her to end up all efforts for charter change, including the change in the form of government. It is time for her to finish off all talks that she is running for office in 2010. These are the things that the people would want to hear at the SONA.

We, from I-MARCH, together with Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN)-Panay, will have a “Lakbayan sang Pumuluyo” on July 26-27. This is an island-wide activity. In Iloilo, we will march from Miag-ao to Oton and Janiuay to Pavia, simultaneously on the 26th. BAYAN Aklan will lead the march from Makato to Kalibo and BAYAN Capiz will spearhead the protest march from the town of Ivisan to Roxas City, all on the 26th. This is the first time in 12 years that an island-wide Lakbayan will be made to deliver a stronger protest to the rottening presidency of President Gloria Arroyo. On the 27th, a cultural-program will be simultaneously held to condemn GMA’s SONA.

We appeal to the people to join us in this historic endeavor. We humbly ask for your support to the Lakbayan by giving food, water, and other logistics. Any form of support you will share to us will always be counted as a very valuable contribution in our collective aspiration for a very meaningful social transformation. #

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