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Protesters to use virtual E-ffigy during SONA rally

Amid the health situation brought by COVID-19 pandemic, protesters will not be bringing a traditional effigy that will be burned during their rally for President Rodrigo Duterte’s 5th State of the Nation Address in Quezon City on July 27.

Renato Reyes, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) secretary general, said artists from Sama-samang Artista para sa Kilusang Agraryo (SAKA) will instead be crafting an E-ffigy or a virtual effigy that will be burned on video.

“The piece will be a miniature version of the usual effigy and will be filmed then distributed online,” he said in a press statement Wednesday.

“So instead of just one rally burning the effigy, the virtual or e-ffigy can be used in various events in the provinces and abroad. You can also use it for online protests or zoom meetings,” he added.

The artists from Saka have yet to unveil the protest art, Reyes said.

He said the burning of the protest art has been a centerpiece of many demonstrations in the past but they are conscious of the need for physical distancing during protests this time.

Reyes said the pandemic has caused protest organizers to make adjustments in the way mass actions are conducted.

He said during the June 12 mañanita in UP, participants had to stand on marked areas along the University Avenue. The same physical distancing was done during the July 18 noise barrage at ABS-CBN.

“Social solidarity is important even with physical distancing. Physical protests are necessary given the vicious attacks on our rights and freedoms. The organizers of the protest are doing everything to make the event safe for all participants,” he said.

He said the SONA rally is expected to be held along Commonwealth Avenue, in front of the Commission on Human Rights. The program will be from 10 a.m. to 12 noon, shorter than the usual SONA protests.

He added participants will stand on marked areas and will be required to wear face masks while organizers and volunteers will be bringing disinfectants as well.

“‘Masked but not silenced’ has been a popular slogan during recent mass actions. The grave threat to public health and safety is the veerus in the Palace. Even during a pandemic, they passed a terror law, shut down ABS-CBN, and are now pushing Charter change and the removal of term limits. It is then worst kind of political opportunism,” Reyes said.—AOL, GMA News