Malaya Movement is calling on all Baltimore/DMV Filipinos and our allies to join us in DC on Monday, July 22nd as a massive show of opposition against Rodrigo Duterte and his regime as he delivers his 4th State of the Nation Address (SONA).
In the Philippines, the State of the Nation Address, popularly abbreviated as SONA, is traditionally held on the fourth Monday of every July. This year, it will be Monday, July 22. We can expect President Rodrigo Duterte to stand before a joint session of Congress and report to the people of the Philippines and the people of the world what he wants us to believe about what’s going on in his country.
If Duterte’s previous three SONAs are any indication, we should expect to hear about the rousing success of his “war on drugs.” He will conveniently leave out any mention of the mounting death tolls, the use of police, military and mercenary forces used to carry them out, and the U.S. tax dollars being used to fund them. He will certainly not mention that drug abuse has not lessened.
We should expect to hear about the growing strength of the Philippines economy. We should not expect, however, to hear how this growth is calculated or measured. Any report that claims the economy of the Philippines is expanding simply does not account for the growing poverty, landlessness, contractualization or forced migration.
The peasant class of the Philippines is forced to till land that does not belong to it to produce food that it will not get to eat. And the working class is forced into unemployment because of the import-dependent economy. This means that everyday goods must be bought from overseas, even though the raw materials used to make them are produced right there in the Philippines, which leads to superprofits for the giant monopolies.
Because there is such a small industrial economy, the lack of jobs forces Filipino workers out of the Philippines so they can send home remittances to support their families.
In other words, Duterte will continue to regurgitate the lies fed to him by the U.S.-backed government of landlords and capitalists.
In this context, we can see how important it is to understand the anti-war movement in the U.S. to understand that many anti-war, anti-imperialist activists come to consciousness after they learn of the lies the U.S. told about “evil dictators” — lies about Fidel Castro, Muammar Gaddafi or Mao Zedong. So when a studied anti-imperialist hears a demand to oust a particular leader of a country oppressed by imperialism, alarms go off. After all, does overturning an individual really change a system?
The Filipino people are not naive on this point. They do not fool themselves that ousting Duterte will overturn the class rule of the landlords and comprador capitalists. But they also know that the movement for national liberation cannot grow while Duterte uses his “war on drugs” to justify mass murders of activists, workers and peasants. Additionally, ousting Duterte would be a huge victory for the movement, earning the confidence of the masses, and making the landlords and imperialists tremble in their boots.
Tama na! Sobra na! People Power na!
National Day of Protest vs Duterte’s Dictatorship
Let us rally everyone to hold large protests everywhere in the United States, especially in Washington D.C. to show our own United People’s SONA (PSONA) against Duterte’s move towards a full fledged dictatorship.
Taking action on July 22 for the United People’s SONA:
LAUNCH large and widespread protest actions on the day of SONA across the U.S. and rally as many people as you can to Washington D.C. Ensure the unity and mobilization of chapters and affiliated organizations for the July 22 SONA. Launch gatherings or assemblies to call action for the SONA as build up. Check out the Facebook links for the actions listed above:
ENDORSE this National Day of Action! Have your Organization join the list of endorsers- this means your organization will mobilize also in full force and outreach for others to join! Please fill out this form to begin this process: Be an Endorsing Organization
LAUNCH widespread education and awareness campaign on various national issues. Let us expose the real impacts of Duterte’s economic policies on the regular Filipino. Let us expose the connection of Duterte’s anti-poor and anti-worker policies such as contractualization, TRAIN law, etc to his repressive measure such as the ongoing Oplan Tokhang and crackdown on human rights defenders, activists, journalists, and others. We must also conduct a widespread education campaign on the dangers of Duterte’s push for charter change.
UTILIZE different media and platforms for information and education dissemination. Be prompt in answering emerging issues, especially in the regime’s attempts to stop and derail People’s actions. Be proactive in exposing and responding to false news and lies of the regime’s propagandists.
What are our demands?
All across the Philippines and the world, fighters for national liberation will respond with the People’s State of the Nation Address, or PSONA. This is where we should expect to hear everything Duterte will not say — about the pain and grief of losing a loved one to Duterte’s “drug war,” about the migrant workers longing to be reunited with their families, about the razing of Indigenous communities.
But the PSONA will not be just about the problems — it will also be about solutions. The Philippines movement for national liberation has a clearly articulated plan for fixing the main problems in the Philippines. This includes genuine land reform — redistributing land to the landless — and national industrialization — developing heavy industry in order to curtail dependence on imports. .
There are two demands for the short term as well: 1) Stop the killings, and 2) ousting Duterte from the presidency. The call for Duterte’s ouster demands special attention, from seasoned activists to budding anti-imperialists alike. It is something the anti-war movement in the U.S. needs to get right and analyze with absolute clarity in order to build a movement that properly strikes at the heart of imperialism.
The People’s State of the Nation Address is a powerful way not only to counter ruling class lies, but to educate the masses on the truth.
Congressman Brad Sherman, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and Nonproliferation announced the committee will hold a hearing featuring the Philippines on Thursday, July 25th. The hearing will cover three other countries in Southeast Asia in addition to the Philippines-- Vietnam, Cambodia, and Rohingya.
The announcement of the hearing comes a week after the UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution calling for a comprehensive investigation into the human rights situation in the Philippines. Since his election in 2016 and the most recent midterm election this past May, which was wrought with massive cheating and fraud to ensure Duterte candidates control the Philippine Senate, Duterte’s near 30,000 killings have earned the attention of international and governmental bodies including the UN, International Criminal Court, and now members of Congress.
July 22: Details on PSONA events
Protests are planned by Malaya Movement in over 20 countries outside of the Philippines. In the U.S., protests in 10 cities have been organized, including a main one in Washington D.C.
Washington, D.C. (7/22)
11 a.m. rally at the White House; 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW; then march to the Philippine Embassy
12:30 p.m. rally at the Philippine Embassy; 1600 Massachusetts Ave. NW
New York, N.Y. (7/22)
6 p.m. rally at the Philippine Consulate; 556 5th Ave.
(7/21) 2 p.m. Community Forum; Location TBA
(7/22) 6 p.m. Vigil at the Philippine Consulate; 9990 Richmond Ave.
Chicago, Ill. (7/22)
6 p.m. rally at the Philippine Consulate; 122 South Michigan Ave.
San Francisco, Calif. (7/22)
12 p.m. rally at the Philippine Consulate; 447 Sutter St.
Los Angeles, Calif. (7/22)
4 p.m. rally at the Philippine Consulate; 3435 Wilshire Blvd.