– Advertisement –
POLICE resorted to subtle means to prevent local activists from going to the streets in the heart of the city during the State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
The authorities occupied the Kiosko Kagawasan in Divisoria, the traditional venue for rallies in Cagayan de Oro, where they held a variety show and peace concert from the morning until Marcos began giving his annual speech to the Batasang Pambansa in the afternoon.
The police move prevented any plan by progressive groups in Cagayan de Oro to hold their alternative SONA, traditionally organized by local activists, where leaders from different sectors take turns presenting what they think is the true state of the country.
Organized by the Cagayan de Oro City Police Office (Cocpo), the variety show and concert is an introduction to SONA, said Major Sebastian Chua, city police director for community affairs.
The variety show featured modern and indigenous dance, and song performances by representatives of various police stations in the city, including civilians.
Staff Sergeant Ronald Robles said that this is the second time that the police in Cagayan de Oro organized a variety show and peace concert during Marcos’ SONA.
Advocate Beverly Selim-Musni, secretary-general of the Union of People’s Lawyers in Mindanao (UPLM) in Cagayan de Oro, said it would be better if the city government hosted the program.
“The organization of the real SONA of the people is a commendable step by the city government, instead of handing the matter over to the police who instead made a variety show,” said Musni.
He said local progressive groups have found it difficult to organize an alternative SONA like in the past because of what he called “undemocratic state-sponsored attacks against activists, such as filing fabricated cases against people’s organizations and red-tagging.”
“The systematic attacks on people’s organizations through raids, killings, red flags and terrorist tagging have undermined the people’s right to assemble, express, and apologize for all the wrongs done by the government throughout the years. This has reduced the ability of people to mount in the People’s Zone,” Musni said.
Musni said the government should be held accountable through public assemblies.
“The absence of SONAs led by the people in the streets cannot hide the great poverty and poor social services that the people suffered before and under the Marcos regime,” he said.
Mindanao Gold Star Daily holds the copyrights of all articles and photos forever. Any unauthorized copying in any platform, electronic and hardcopy, is liable for copyright infringement under the Intellectual Property Rights Law of the Philippines.