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Bacolod City, Philippines Tuesday, July 26, 2016
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No more effigy burning

          No more burning of effigies and strong condemnation this time.

          The rally attended by about 2,500 members of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Negros and other progressive groups in Bacolod City yesterday, turned out to be different from those seen  in previous State of the Nation Address events.

          The militants marched down  the main thoroughfares of the city up to the Bacolod Public Plaza shortly before President Rodrigo Duterte delivered his 1st State of the Nation  Address at the Batasang Pambansa, Quezon City.

          Members of the progressive groups at the Bacolod Public Plaza did  not burn effigies  as in  their previous protests. They showcased song and dance performances  and called  for a true change.

          Even the number of policemen deployed at the rally site had lessened compared to previous gatherings of militants before.

          A light rain soaked the rallyists  but this did not stop them from continuing the program they tagged as  a “nationally-coordinated gathering” instead of “protest”.

          Christian Tuayon, secretary-general of Bayan-Negros, said the rally, unlike the traditional anti-SONA protests,  was  for peace and in support of the pro-people programs and progressive policies of the Duterte administration.

          One of the programs is the peace negotation between the New People’s Army-Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front and the government of Philippines, Tuayon said.

          “We have called for so long to address the root of revolution and armed conflict in the Philippines, so we are calling the Duterte administration to resume the peace negotiation,” Tuayon said.

          However, this will not stop the progressive groups from  remaining  vigilant and critical of  the policies of the new administation which may be anti-people, Tuayon said.

          The militants are still calling  for the abolition of the  K to 12, a stop to  land grabbing, and an to end contractualization, that  they consider  the main problems of the previous administration  that  remain unsolved.*SGG



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