By Joey Natividad
NAGA CITY (BicolToday.com/24-July-2012) – Thousands marched to Batasang Road, Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City on Monday, protesting President Noynoy’s third State of the Nation Address (SONA) as a sham that does not depict the actual realities of the Filipino masses way of life.
Militant umbrella group, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN), bewailed that the last two years of the Aquino government have been about failed promises of change, and increased attacks on the people’s rights and livelihood.
“Like previous SONA’s, Aquino’s SONA speech was filled with soaring rhetoric, but would come up empty on real, meaningful change. For an hour and half, Aquino tried to enthrall his allies in Congress with reports on so-called achievements that have little impact on the lives of the people. This includes the supposed 6.4% economic growth, decrease of unemployment, and the usual anti-corruption anecdotes,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr, by email.
“He deliberately omitted the glaring realities of worsening human rights violations, poverty, unemployment, depressed wages, absence of genuine land reform, demolition of houses, destructive large-scale mining, privatization of social services and the US violations of our sovereignty,” Reyes added.
“Congressional allies heaped praises on Aquino, while Aquino thanked Congress for supporting the Corona impeachment. Without any political opposition, the gathering in Congress on Monday ended up as some huge mutual admiration society. Expect big business, including the big mining firms, to hail Aquino’s SONA. But the people on the streets; the workers, peasants and urban poor; flatly reject Aquino’s deceptive pronouncements ,” Reyes said.
BAYAN claimed that over the weeks, the prices and rates of oil, electricity and water services have almost simultaneously gone up. After a series of rollbacks, oil prices have increased for two straight weeks, raising the pump price of gasoline by a huge ₱2.55 per liter and diesel by ₱2.40. Power rates charged by Meralco, meanwhile, will go up by ₱0.32 per kilowatt-hour this month. Water rates in Metro Manila and nearby areas will also rise by ₱0.39 per cubic meter to ₱0.89 starting in the third quarter.
The militant organization asserts that these price increases were the result of the policies of privatization and deregulation of energy and water, which the current regime has continued to implement. It said that the so-called Conditional Cash Transfer program cannot solve poverty brought about by these policies.
BAYAN believes that with the accumulated impact of privatization, deregulation and other anti-poor policies under Aquino, hunger affected an averaged 20% of families (an estimated 4 million families) during Aquino’s two years; while poverty has averaged more than 50% (an estimated 10 million families), citing data from the Social Weather Station (SWS) surveys. [BicolToday.com]
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