BAYAN warns against police disinformation as SONA approaches

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) warned of a disinformation campaign that may be orchestrated by government forces to dissuade people from coming out and joining the protests on President Rodrigo Duterte’s fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) on June 22.

“Fake news regarding the protest actions and rally organizers are expected to be on overdrive as SONA day approaches,” BAYAN said in a statement today.

The group, one of the organizers of Monday’s United People’s SONA, said the Philippine National Police have warned participants not to bring jackets and backpacks during the rally as a security precaution.

“Protesters see this as unreasonable and may only be intended to sow fear among the public,” BAYAN said.

The group said the organizers expect a generally peaceful yet militant mass action on Monday, with national sovereignty, human rights and the economy as key issues in the protest.

Bayan calls on the Duterte government to respect freedom of speech and the right to peaceably assemble.

“The practice of harassing protesters, attacking human rights defenders and criminalizing dissent should stop immediately,” BAYAN said.

The United People’s SONA will be held at Commonwealth Avenue at three o’clock in the afternoon.

Various groups will however mass up at points along the broad avenue starting at eleven o’clock in the morning.

“After the passage of a crucial UNHRC resolution on human rights the Philippines, the world will be watching how the SONA protests will turn out on Monday,” BAYAN said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)