MALAYBALAY CITY, Bukidnon, July 23, 2019 – Around 70 participants to Anti-SONA rally in this City yesterday (July 22) were left by their organizers hungry and angry with no food, water and fare to go back to their communities.
KARAPATAN, KASAMA, KMU and Gabriela brought-in groups of people from the villages to stage anti-government rally as early as 9am to the Provincial Capitol grounds. Early birds were welcomed by singing soldiers who were ahead in the capitol grounds. A team of soldier-medics were also at the capitol grounds offering free blood pressure check. The soldiers shared bread and softdrinks-in-can to the rally participants while waiting for their leaders. Little did they know that the snack shared by the soldiers will be their last meal for the day. Worse, they were later given instruction by the rally leaders to vilify the soldiers.
A teenage boy murmur after the protest “ang ishagit ihunong ang militarisasyon ug martial law nga mga sundalo man gani ang nanghatag ug pagkaon ug mainom ganiha, pasalamat nalang ta kay nakatimo (We were told to yell stop militarization and martial law, and yet the soldiers were the ones who gave us food and drinks earlier. We are thankful that with the snacks, at least we were able to eat something)”
The rally participants said originally they know that the program will be held at the capitol grounds. Suddenly the leaders decided to change the venue to the City Public Market and jeepney terminal. Them then while they were waiting for food at around 3PM, they were abandoned as their leaders left when rain started to pour.
According to one of the participants they were recruited by two (2) organizers who promised them food and bus fare. “Libre man gud daw ang plete ug kaon” said Ana, a teenager and a Manobo from Quezon, Bukidnon.
“Ang ingun is adto daw mi sa pabahay sa mga kabus, libre pamasahe back and forth, libre pamahaw paniudto, unya wla mi kabalo nga mag rally diay mi. Ayha ra daw ihatag ang pamasahe kung mahuman ang program (They said we will visit the housing project for the poor, fare back and forth will be free, free breakfast, lunch. We were nit aware that we will be joining a rally. They said, we will be given bus fare back home only after the program)” said Ana who was left with her cousin in Malaybalay City Public Terminal. The two later boarded a bus with few coins saved from school allowance.
“CDO man gani daw mi, na impas ug nadayon, unsaon ug uli maypa sila nakasakay sa ila van, kami gibiyaan (CDO is our supposed destination, the heck if we got there how can we go home. Good for the organizers, they have their van, we were abandoned)” she added.
Abandoned rally participants were dismayed that organizers quickly boarded a white multicab with plate number JBB 8496 and left them. Around 30-40 participants were teenagers.
Social workers from DSWD and local SWD in Malaybalay and Valencia cities were on standby alert along with police and military ready to provide public assistance during the day. The SONA monitoring ended without any untoward incident in Bukidnon.