July 24, 2017
This year’s “People’s SONA” protest rally will have something that last year’s rally did not – an effigy of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte.
Duterte’s “walking effigy” will accompany a giant hybrid bulldozer-armored personnel carrier (APC) as it rolls along Commonwealth Avenue on the way to the rally site at the Batasan Road.
Crafting the “visual representation of the state of a nation reeling under the onslaught of martial law” are the UGATLahi Artist Collective and other contributing artists.
The effigy reflects Duterte’s focus and efforts during his first year, said Luigi Almena, spokesperson for UGATLahi Artist Collective. “Pasista at wala pang tunay na pagbabago na naganap sa unang taon ni Pangulong Duterte,” he added.
The hybrid bulldozer-APC has three riders – Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana representing Duterte’s militarist rule, Finance Sec. Carlos Dominguez III representing Duterte’s neoliberal economic policies, and Uncle Sam as Mad Max representing Duterte’s continued adherence to US imperialism’s agenda.
Walking in front of the hybrid APC is a mock-up of the President fashioning a Duterte-style “iron fist”.
The three APC riders symbolize how martial law and neoliberalism are running roughshod over the people’s rights and welfare, furthering oppression and poverty in support of the interests of US Imperialism.
“Duterte fails to realize that he is just continuing the practices and policies of the past regimes,” noted Almena. He added that Duterte “cannot solve the problems of the nation by continuing the anti-people and anti-national polices that are the cause of the problems in the first place. Neither can he solve these problems with iron-fisted rule.”.
In contrast, last year’s display was composed of six “Portraits of Peace” symbolizing Duterte’s promise of change.
However, with the dismal developments on major fronts – human rights, jobs and contractualization, mining and the environment, and the peace talks, “nararamdaman natin na hindi nagawang panindigan ni Duterte ang pagbabagong sinasabi niya sa ilalim ng kanyang pamumuno,” said Almena. ###