Metro Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — Amid the heat and the threat of COVID-19, various civil rights groups staged the #SONAgKAISA protests at UP Diliman in time for President Duterte’s SONA. It is reported that the crowd estimate is around 10,000.
The program ran from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., with a lineup of civic leaders, actors, musicians, and lawmakers lending their voice to the protest. Speakers brought up issues such as the ABS-CBN shutdown, government’s response to the pandemic, passage of the Anti Terror Bill, and the welfare of laborers, frontliners, and disenfranchised jeepney drivers.
Senators Risa Hontiveros and Kiko Pangilinan sent their messages through video, Senator Leila De Lima had a poem called “Ang Trayador,” read by actress Angeli Bayani, journalist Ces Drilon spoke about the importance of press freedom (“Hindi ito isang pribilehyo na tulad ng sinasabi ng ating presidente,” she said). Former Chief Justince Maria Lourdes Sereno discussed the implications of charter change.
Rey Salinas of Bahaghari and one of the arrested Pride20, closed the program and said, “Di kami natinag sa pang-aaresto, pagbabanta ng pasasabugin ang ulo namin, at sekswal na harassment na naranasan namin sa kulungan para sumama ngayon sa protesta ng mamamayang galit na sa kanilang mga pang-aabuso.”
During the protests, several people were also roving around to remind people of physical distancing.
Here are a few scenes from the protests.