July 25, 2009
Urban poor from Tondo, Manila held a community march around the area and then held at 5 p.m. along the R-10 road in Mabuhay a noise barrage against the plan to convene a constituent assembly and the threat of martial law. The noise barrage of Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) and the Zone One Tondo Organization (ZOTO), the oldest urban poor group in the country, is part of a build up for the counter-SONA protests on July 27 by the groups Laban ng Masa and TindigNation.
“We give Gloria Arroyo a failing grade of 5.0 for in the eight years of her term the plight of the poor have worsened. The poor do not feel any improvement. Our lives have changed but for the worse. More people are hungry not just poor, desperate not just hopeless. The poor cannot eat the positive GNP that government was bragging about the start of the global crisis,” argued Melba Arquisola, president of the ZOTO-Tondo chapter.
Protesters wore masks similar to those used in the Moriones festival to elicit the attention and support of bystanders. Tondo residents warmly received the protesters as the community march made its way from the inner streets to the R-10 road. The noise barrage at Mabuhay was enthusiastically welcomed by passers by and even drivers who honked their vehicle horns as a sign of support. The theme of the pre-SONA protests was opposition to the planned convening of a constituent assembly and the threat of the imposition of martial law.
Neneng Racines, a leader of PM-Tondo chapter, stated, “We should defend our freedoms and rights which is bound to be taken away in the event of the imposition of martial law. If the threat of martial law does not come to pass it can only be because of the people’s protests such as this noise barrage. We should make noise today or else tomorrow we will wake up with Gloria Arroyo retaining power forever as prime minister or a new dictator.”
“The mass actions today are not just a build up for the counter-SONA protest on Monday but also a preview of the nationwide outrage that will erupt in case the planned con-ass is actually summoned or martial law is truly imposed. We should defend our freedoms and rights that will be taken away in the event of the imposition of martial law. If the threat of martial law does not come to pass it can only be because of the people’s protests such as this noise barrage,” insisted Arquisola.