5,000 militants rally in CDO to support President Duterte’s SONA

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY — About 5,000 militant groups from various areas in Northern Mindanao met in this port capital to express support to President Rodrigo Duterte’s first State of the Nation Address (SONA) Monday afternoon.

Led by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) and civil society groups from all over the region, the group started to converge at the provincial capitol compound Sunday night and is scheduled to hold a march-rally Monday afternoon toward the city’s downtown area of Divisoria Plaza here.

Group leaders said that the protesters are calling for the People’s Agenda through “CHANGE,” which stands for: Cancellation of all anti-people laws, Health and Social Services, Address root-case of civil war, National Industrialization, Genuine Agrarian Reform and free Education for all.

Wildon Barros, Bayan chair for Northern Mindanao, said that the rally participants would discuss the details of CHANGE at the Divisoria Plaza later this afternoon as they will also watch Duterte’s Sona.

“What we will be doing is not protest action, but support action, as we are just following up the promises made by Duterte during his campaign,” Barros said in a telephone interview.

He said they will wait and see if the President will really make good on the promises he made.“If he rejects our agenda, then we will stage protection actions until he will consider our appeal,” he added.

For its part, the Anakbayan in Northern Mindanao has reiterated its stand on scrapping the K to 12 education program, saying it did not raise the standard of education in the country, but on the contrary has burdened the parents and the students as it is actually denying them the right to free education.

“We are asking President Duterte to abolish the K to 12 program and the budget cuts of state universities and colleges, and education in the public schools free in the whole country,” said Jade Etucas, Anakbayan chair for region 10. PNA/northboundasia.com