OTTAWA — Newly elected President of the Philippines Ferdinand Marcos Jr. will deliver his inaugural State of the Nation address (SONA) on July 25 as the country roils under the chaos of overlapping economic and political crises. On that same day, Filipinos abroad including an alliance of anti-imperialist groups organizing for national democracy in the Philippines will mobilize to deliver their own SONA (dubbed People’s SONA) on behalf of Filipino women, youth, students, and migrant workers who oppose Marcos Jr. and his reactionary movement.
Marcos Jr.’s campaign was built on empty promises and historical revisionism that erases his father’s human rights abuses against the Filipino people. In September 1972, Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law as an economic recession and revelations about his political corruption rocked the country, sparking nationwide demonstrations and civil unrest including the First Quarter Storm. For two decades until the People Power Revolution in 1986, thousands of people were kidnapped, tortured, and imprisoned for speaking out against the dictatorship.
Marcos Jr. is coming into power amidst deepening economic and political crises following the end of outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte’s six-year term. Duterte has left behind enormous debt, weakened institutions, a legacy of human rights abuses, and the betrayal of our national sovereignty.
In his inaugural speech on June 30, Marcos Jr. failed to outline a comprehensive program for solving the nation’s crises, instead offering shallow and vague ideas about what his administration plans to do. This is a continuation of his electoral campaign’s lack of a clear platform. In Marcos Jr.’s first month in his role, we saw a sharp rise in inflation and the lowest peso-to-dollar exchange rate since 2004. This crash means that it is now more expensive to import basic goods while the country’s trade deficit will balloon.
The Philippines is currently saddled with an unprecedented debt of 12.6 trillion pesos, yet Marcos Jr. plans to borrow USD$2.14 billion to fund his administration’s “projects,” mirroring his father’s practice of looting the nation to grow his family’s private wealth. He has also dissolved anti-corruption laws such as the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission in hopes of extending his presidential term from six to ten years. The new administration has also attempted to shutdown progressive media outlets such as Rappler, a news outlet that extensively covered the corruption in the Duterte regime and criticized Marcos Jr.’s election campaign.
Local BAYAN and allied organizations such as Malaya Canada and the Canada-International Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) remain vigilant in the face of what is to come under the new Marcos regime. Progressive groups are rallying for genuine democracy and real change in the Philippines, protesting against historical revisionism and state corruption, and working together to resist another era of darkness.
TORONTO - Monday, July 25 @ 6:00 pm EDT, Bathurst-Wilson Parkette
OTTAWA - Sunday, July 24 @ 11:00 am EDT, US and Philippine Embassy
MONTRÉAL - Monday, July 25 @ 5:00 pm EDT, Plamondon Metro
WINNIPEG - Sunday, July 24 @ 12:00 pm CDT, Assiniboine Park
SURREY/METRO VANCOUVER - Sunday, July 24 @ 1:30 pm PDT, Surrey Central Station
Anakbayan Canada is an overseas chapter of Anakbayan, the largest and most comprehensive organization of Filipino youth and students for National Democracy. Anakbayan’s 20,000 members worldwide strive for genuine freedom, peace, and democracy in the Philippines.