Army provides food to abandoned, hungry anti-SONA rallyists
By Nef Luczon
MALAYBALAY CITY (Philippines News Agency) –Some 70 participants invited to a protest action against the 4th State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday were seemingly abandoned and left hungry by organizers, prompting the Army to give them food and water.
A statement by the Army’s 403rd Infantry Brigade Tuesday said the rallyists were bused in from rural villages to hold their protest inside the Provincial Capitol grounds here.
“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 403rd IBde statement said.
“The soldiers shared bread and canned soft drinks 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,” it added.
Based on the statements from the rallyists, the Army brigade claimed that their organizers taught them to shout protest slogans and other invectives against the military.
It added that a confusion among the would-be protesters broke out hours later as the protest leaders decided to change the venue.
“Then while they (protesters) were waiting for food at around 3 p.m., they were abandoned as their leaders left when the rain started to pour,” the 403rd IB said.
According to the military, some participants told them they were recruited by two organizers who promised them food and bus fare.
With most of the participants unable to go home because they had no money, the Army said social workers from the Department of Social Welfare and Development intervened to provide assistance to the stranded protesters. (PNA)