People's SONA 2009 in Canada


July 27, 2009



 Montreal     Ottawa     Toronto     Vancouver






Photos courtesy of BAYAN - Canada


People’s SONA 2009 – Montreal

The actions taken by Bayan Canada organizations in Montreal on July 26, the eve of the Arroyo regime’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) consisted of 3 days; from preparation to actual activities.

National Situationer by Bayan Canada


Day 1:

Bayan Canada held a Forum about 1 week from the actual rally to inform members, organizers and solidarity friends about Arroyo’s real intentions with regards to Charter change (Cha-Cha), the calling to convene a Constituent Assembly (Con-Ass), and the actual state of the nation in contrast to her traditional annual report to the nation.

Bayan Canada explained to the participants the need to add their voices to the growing opposition in order to frustrate Arroyo’s bid to stay in power.

After the politics of the planned mobilization were clarified and everyone was unified, the organizers of PINAY – the Filipino Women’s organization of Quebec and the Filipino Workers Support Group, along with the solidairty group, the Centre for Philippine Concerns made plans for the form that the demonstartion will take and the organizing it would involve.

Day 2:

The organizers mobilized their mass members to help create the props needed for the rally, including a huge 50 foot streamer with slogans both in English and French. Flyers for distribution were also prepared and hundreds of copies were made. A short street theatre play based on the the song Bayan Ko was conceived and practiced. The organizers were also busy finalizing the program for the demonstration and calling on members to ensure a good turn out.

Day 3:

Finally on the day of the rally, the demonstrators first assembled at a busy street intersection in the heart of the Cote-des-Neiges neighbourhood where there is a high concentration of Filipinos. Flyers were distributed and slogans were chanted.

People's SONA 5People's SONA 10Flyer distribution 1

The Bayan Ko street theatre was then performed in front of the nearby subway station as passerbys stopped to watch and ask questions.

Street Theatre - Tula - subway stationStreet Theatre - subway station 1The last phase of the rally saw the demonstrators marching to McKenzie Park, where an annual Filipino community picnic was being held called, Pista sa Nayon. Once there Bayan Canada held a silent vigil and distributed flyers calling on the community to support the call for 0 remittance day on July 27, the day of Arroyo’s SONA. Many people approached the demonstrators and even asked to take photos with the street theatre actors.

Silent protest at park

photo op with Arroyo 1

After a brief march around the park Bayan Canada representatives spoke to the community event organizers to see if they can be included into the program and avail of the stage, sound system and a captive audience. The organizers of the community picnic agreed to have Bayan Canada present their street theatre and to give a short message to the hundreds of community members present at the picnic.

theatre at pista sa nayon picnic 5theatre at pista sa nayon picnic 1

For more photos click on the following link: Bayan Canada Flickr site

July 28, 2009

Discussion on the R\P national situation
preparing People's SONA banner 1Street Theatre - SONA March  
  Street theater  

Yasmeen and Aimee of the PMSC present their case against Arroyo's SONA during an outdoor forum organized by Bayan Canada in Ottawa.

PMSC (Pilipinong Migrante Sa Canada) in Ottawa, a member organization of Bayan Canada, in solidarity with the world wide actions against GMA’s 9th SONA held a discussion and information sharing session attended by compatriots and solidarity friends of the Philippines. The discussion session focused on exposing GMA’s lies and her greed to stay in power, and reinforcing our commitment for genuine freedom and democracy in the Philippines.




Statement of BAYAN Canada

On Arroyo’s Philippine State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 27, 2009

BAYAN Canada, an alliance of Filipino progressive and nationalist organizations in Canada, will conduct its opposition through various protest actions and activities across Canada on the eve of the ninth (9th) SONA of President Arroyo. Described as the “People’s SONA,” these protests will be a vivid contrast to the traditional annual report to the nation by the Philippine President on the current social, economic, and political conditions of the country.

As in her past SONA, Arroyo is expected to paint a rosy picture of the Philippines under her regime. She will make bogus claims of stabilizing the region through economic growth, job creation and her counter-insurgency.

The real state of the nation, however, is that the Philippine national debt has soared higher than ever; there is a record 15.6 million Filipinos unemployed, while a whopping one million Filipinos leave the country each year to work abroad. With the vast majority of the people still engaged in backward agricultural production, the problem of land monopoly continues to persist with seven out of ten peasant farmers lacking ownership of their own land, subject to usury and feudal land rent. The Arroyo regime’s human rights record surpasses that of previous Presidents, including that of Ferdinand Marcos, with more than 1,000 extra-judicial killings, over 200 abductions and disappearances and about 1,000 cases of torture reported since Arroyo assumed power in 2001.

Further dogging Mrs. Arroyo are charges of corruption, power-mongering, and subservience to U.S. imperialism, with pay-offs totaling over US $130 million which have gone to her and her family, proof once again that the top political position in the country is still the most lucrative business. While this is supposed to be Arroyo’s last SONA, because her official term ends in 2010, Arroyo has managed to buy off her friends in the Legislature to pass House Resolution 1109 that will pave the way for a Constitutional Assemby (ConAss) which will make it easier to make constitutional amendments (Charter Change or Cha-Cha) to ensure Arroyo’s indefinite stay in power well beyond her term limits and also to shield her from prosecution while she continues to amass wealth.

The option of a change to a Parliamentary form of government is a serious possibility. So is the declaration of martial law, if everything fails. What Arroyo fails to tell the nation that any charter change will more than likely diminish whatever national sovereignty the nation has. Arroyo’s Cha-Cha will remove all barriers to 100% foreign ownership of land, utilities and industries. It is no wonder that representatives of U.S. big business are one of the strongest proponents of charter change in the Philippines since they stand to gain so much from the all-out sale of Philippine resources and sovereignty.

Just days after her SONA, Arroyo plans to travel to Washington D.C. to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama. This is the much anticipated photo opportunity Arroyo hopes will boost her failing regime and help her stay in power. The U.S. needs Arroyo, as the most reliable U.S. lap-dog in the region, to ensure that American economic, political and military interests in Southeast Asia are maintained. Arroyo’s puppetry-like dance has its historical roots in the first colonization of the Philippines over 100 years ago by the U.S. To continue its control over Philippine resources, its possession of markets and dumping grounds for its overproduction and finance capital investment, the U.S. will employ all means — political means through treaties and agreements as well as brutal force through occupation and military aid and training for the puppet forces.

Canadian mining corporations and investors in the Philippines also wait anxiously in the background for charter change as they too stand to profit from this. We can predict more displacement by open-pit mining practices, joblessness as more of the local economy is destroyed, and continuing heavy militarization. Large scale exploitation will especially continue in the ancestral lands of indigenous peoples in the Philippines as their right to self-determination, along with that of the whole country, is trampled upon to extract the rich natural resources for the profit of imperialist nations. The thousands of Filipinos working and living in Canada as immigrants, citizens and temporary workers have nothing to gain from the continuation of the Arroyo regime. The lack of protection for Filipino migrant workers in Canada by both the Ottawa and the Manila governments are well documented. The Arroyo regime continues to peddle Filipino workers as the most docile and hard working in the world with the objective of exporting more “human resources” for the billions in remittances they send back. Filipinos anxious about the future of their families in the Philippines will find that there are no plans in Arroyo’s SONA to build national industries that will provide real jobs for the people and no political will to implement genuine land reform.

BAYAN Canada calls on all Filipinos and democratic and peace loving people to come out and join the SONA activities on Sunday, July 26.

No to an Arroyo dictatorship in the Philippines!
Never again to Martial Law!
Onward with the struggle for national freedom and democracy!

Member organizations:

BAYAN Organizing Committee Quebec, PINAY – Filipino Women’s Organization of Quebec, Filipino Workers Support Group – Montreal (FWSG)

BAYAN Organizing Committee Ontario, Migrante Ontario, Filipino Migrant Worker’s Movement (FMWM), Philippine Advocacy Through the Arts and Culture (PATAC), Pilipinong Migrante sa Barrie (PMB), Philippine Migrant Society of Canada – Ottawa (PMSC), Damayan Migrant Education and Resource Centre, Migrante Youth, AWARE, Migrant Family and Resource Centre

BAYAN Organizing Committe Manitoba, Damayan Manitoba

BAYAN Organizing Committee Alberta

BAYAN Organizing Committee British Columbia, Migrante British Columbia

Supporting organizations:

Centre d’appui aux Philippines – Centre for Philippine Concerns – Montreal (CAP-CPC), Ontario Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines – Ottawa (OCHRP), Philippine Network for Justice and Peace – Toronto (PNJP), Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights – Vancouver (CPSHR), Victoria Philippine Solidarity Group (VPSG)






The Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights and MIGRANTE B.C. combine its collective voices in opposition to the State of the Nation (SONA) address of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and her devilish scheme to perpetuate herself in power well beyond 2010.

As overseas organizations of Filipino migrants and immigrants and human rights advocates in Canada, we closely follow the developments in the Philippines. We are well aware that the Arroyo regime has kept the Philippines in an ever worsening political and economic crisis; that it continues to wage a counter-insurgency campaign against its own people and that it does not care that it has a notorious human rights record that has claimed more victims and spawned more intensive militarization than any of her predecessors; and that it has made a name for itself in corruption schemes that benefit the her First Family, her cronies and her loyal allies in the Legislature.

President Arroyo's evil plan to stay in power is strongly reminiscent of the maneuvers of the late dictator Marcos to stay in Malacanang well beyond the two-Presidential term limits and his eventual declaration of Martial Law. Arroyo's plan in her desperate fight for political survival is already in place with the swift passage of House Resolution 1109 that would call for a Constituent Assembly (Con-Ass), which in turn will move for changes in the Philippine Constitution, also known as Charter Change (Cha-Cha). As early as her SONA in 2005, Arroyo already made public her preference for Charter Change and for a parliamentary form of government.

The grand scenario would then involve the transition to a parliamentary form of government making it possible for Mrs. Gloria Arroyo, who will most likely run for and win as Representative of her district in Pampanga in the 2010 elections, to run for Prime Minister. Under a parliamentary system, the Prime Minister is not directly elected by the people but is chosen by the majority party in the legislature. There are no term limits for Prime Minister so Gloria Arroyo can stay strapped to the seat of power and run the Philippines until she is bald and toothless.

Arroyo's survival plan also ensures that she enjoys immunity, and thus protected from any lawsuit that will certainly come from the families and relatives of those who have been killed, disappeared, detained, tortured, and displaced by her forces of terror.

And if her political schemes do not work, there is nothing to prevent Arroyo from declaring the country under martial rule or emergency rule which also gives her insurance to stay in power, surrounded by her army and her principal supporter, the United States government.



Let this be her last SONA, her farewell to a people who would oust and replace her if she does not step down willingly. Arroyo believes the myths that she peddles to the public and refuses to see that in the last nine years, the people have seen record joblessness, falling household incomes, increasing poverty, fiscal crisis, unprecedented debt and debt service, social service cutbacks, increasing landlessness, and deeper Philippine underdevelopment. She continues to peddle Filipino men and women to work abroad with no regard for their protection but only mindful of their remittances that prop up her shaky economy. She has wantonly sold the country's national patrimony and national sovereignty to foreign and imperialist ownership, interests and profits.
Arroyo has not learned the lessons of history. The people's protests that are fueled by poverty, resistance, desire for human dignity, nationalism and a genuine desire for comprehensive change in society grow bigger and bigger each time. These will be the most decisive factors that will dictate the course of events in the coming months.

It is the march of the people in the streets and in the countrysides which will prevail, not the nefarious dance of the Cha-Cha or the evil spectre of Martial Rule.###

Vancouver, Canada
July 27, 2009