Photo by Frances Mangosing/

MANILA, July 24, 2013
(INQUIRER) By Frances Mangosing - Despite light rains, protesters led by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) burned an effigy of President Benigno Aquino III as he delivered his State of the Nation Address Monday afternoon.

The effigy symbolizes the issues raised against the incumbent president.

For Aquino ‘s fourth SONA, Bayan said the president was portrayed as “a 13-foot high giant feasting on a banquet.”

“But unlike the traditional fiesta, where hospitality, generosity and goodwil is encouraged among the whole community, the President’s banquet is depicted as a lavishly sumptuous feast for a small circle of guests as the people wait for crumbs falling from the table,” Bayan said in a statement.

“Sunugin si Aquino, tuta ng mga Amerikano,” the crowd chanted. Police estimated a crowd of around 5,000 along Commonwealth Avenue for this year’s SONA.

This year’s effigy is supposed to be the militants’ take on the kind of economic “growth” that the Aquino government “is expected to trumpet” during the SONA, according to Bayan.


Giant chomping President faces fiery end By Alma J. Buelva (MB Online) Published: July 22, 2013

A 13-foot President Benigno Aquino III made of bamboo and painted papier-mâché is scheduled to arrive early tomorrow for the fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) at the Batasang Pambansa Complex in Quezon City.

The latest protest art-effigy from the UGATLahi Artist Collective is expected to be one of the highlights of tomorrow's protest rallies led by the militant group Bayan.

The effigy is expected to be based on the face photo of an open-mouthed President, which appeared in the fake Time Magazine cover earlier this year.

The choice for this is obvious: the visual artists have created an elaborate meal setting where the President and his friends appear to be feasting on his administration's policies made up of “dishes” cooked up by an American chef to expose the US hand in the nation's affairs.

This makes the use of papier-mâché, French word for chewed paper, even more fitting as the President appears to be eating his words and policies at the same time.

Since the early 1990s, UGATLahi artists have specialized in making effigies, earning them a reputation as “artists of social conscience.”

Their performance and installation arts have won awards not just for their skills and talent, but for effectively representing the discontent of the people.

All the hard work, however, always ends up in ashes as activists burn their creations to vent their frustrations over the perceived shortcomings of the government.

The dining P-Noy effigy is expected to suffer the same fate after the street protests and programs, capping a day fraught with expectations, tension and frustration.

Militant groups slam Aquino during SONA, criticizes Luisita distribution By Ron B. Lopez (MB Online) Published: July 22, 2013

Binobola mo ba kami? [Are you playing with us?]

This has been the question of farmers and progressive groups Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (Ambala) and Anakpawis, to President Benigno Aquino III hours before his State of the Nation Address on Monday.

The groups, carrying statements printed in placards resembling Bingo letters, condemned the Aquino Administration for its slow pace in land reform.

Specifically, the group criticized the lot drawing process of distributing land plots in Hacienda Luisita, the sprawling sugar estate in Tarlac owned by the Cojuangcos, who are relatives of the President.

The land distribution, which started on July 18, uses a ‘tambiolo’ or a lottery system to choose which lot will be given to a qualified farmers and beneficiaries. A total of 6,212 beneficiaries will be covered by the program.

Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio De Los Reyes has said it is a “crucial step” in generating the Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOAs) which will be given to qualified farmers between August and September.

Ambala, for the longest time has been pushing for a ‘free’ and ‘genuine land reform,’ and labeled the Aquino Government as an Anti-farmer.

Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) earlier described the distribution process as “very unscientific, foolish and idiotic.”

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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