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Faces of SONA 2014

With gloomy weather threatening rain, ear-splitting noise from drums, tin cans and screams hung in the air as a crowd estimated at more than a thousand people started a protest rally at the corner of Tandang Sora and Commonwealth Avenue, hours before President Aquino would deliver his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) at the Batasan Pambansa yesterday.

The protesters identified themselves as wage-earners, housewives, unemployed youth, underpaid employees and professionals. They vowed to air their gripes relentlessly against the government’s economic policies until their calls for reforms are heard.

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  • TRAFFIC –Vehicles pile up along Commonwealth Ave in Quezon City yesterday when a traffic rerouting plan was implemented about 5:30 a.m., closing a major portion of the 16-lane avenue to vehicle traffic, in preparation for the President’s SONA later in the afternoon. (Mark Balmores)

  • MILITANT MARCH — Militant groups march along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City yesterday, to air their protests shortly before the President delivered his fifth State of the Nation Address. (Michael Varcas)

  • OLD WORLD CHARM – An elderly woman smiles at the members of the Quezon City Police assigned to control the crowd yesterday around the Batasan Pambansa area. She was part of the group of residents of BIR Road who joined the rally near the North Wing of the building. (Michael Varcas)

  • AFTER SONA –President Aquino is congratulated by several members of the House of Representatives after he delivered the SONA yesterday.  (KJ Rosales)

  • MANNY’S SELFIE ­— Rep. Manny Pacquiao takes a selfie while a friend takes a photo of the group.  (KJ Rosales)

  • MARCOS AND AQUINO – Senators Bam Aquino and Bongbong Marcos while waiting for the arrival of President Aquino yesterday. (Richard V. Viñas)

  • SELFIE  — Lucy Torres-Gomez of the 4th district of Leyte Province, joins a selfie. (KJ Rosales)

  • WATER CANON –Police rain water cannons on protesters to prevent them from breaking a barbed-wire barrier along Commonwealth Avenue, during the height of the protest rally shortly before the SONA. (Mark Balmores)

  • WATER CANON –Police rain water cannons on protesters to prevent them from breaking a barbed-wire barrier along Commonwealth Avenue, during the height of the protest rally shortly before the SONA. (Mark Balmores)

  • POSTER BRIDGE – A protest poster covers a footbridge across Commonwealth Ave. yesterday. (Michael Varcas)

  • TRAFFIC –Vehicles pile up along Commonwealth Ave in Quezon City yesterday when a traffic rerouting plan was implemented about 5:30 a.m., closing a major portion of the 16-lane avenue to vehicle traffic, in preparation for the President’s SONA later in the afternoon. (Mark Balmores)

  • TRAFFIC –Vehicles pile up along Commonwealth Ave in Quezon City yesterday when a traffic rerouting plan was implemented about 5:30 a.m., closing a major portion of the 16-lane avenue to vehicle traffic, in preparation for the President’s SONA later in the afternoon. (Mark Balmores)
  • MILITANT MARCH — Militant groups march along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City yesterday, to air their protests shortly before the President delivered his fifth State of the Nation Address. (Michael Varcas)
  • OLD WORLD CHARM – An elderly woman smiles at the members of the Quezon City Police assigned to control the crowd yesterday around the Batasan Pambansa area. She was part of the group of residents of BIR Road who joined the rally near the North Wing of the building. (Michael Varcas)
  • AFTER SONA –President Aquino is congratulated by several members of the House of Representatives after he delivered the SONA yesterday. (KJ Rosales)
  • MARCOS AND AQUINO – Senators Bam Aquino and Bongbong Marcos while waiting for the arrival of President Aquino yesterday. (Richard V. Viñas)
  • SELFIE — Lucy Torres-Gomez of the 4th district of Leyte Province, joins a selfie. (KJ Rosales)
  • WATER CANON –Police rain water cannons on protesters to prevent them from breaking a barbed-wire barrier along Commonwealth Avenue, during the height of the protest rally shortly before the SONA. (Mark Balmores)
  • WATER CANON –Police rain water cannons on protesters to prevent them from breaking a barbed-wire barrier along Commonwealth Avenue, during the height of the protest rally shortly before the SONA. (Mark Balmores)
  • POSTER BRIDGE – A protest poster covers a footbridge across Commonwealth Ave. yesterday. (Michael Varcas)
  • TRAFFIC –Vehicles pile up along Commonwealth Ave in Quezon City yesterday when a traffic rerouting plan was implemented about 5:30 a.m., closing a major portion of the 16-lane avenue to vehicle traffic, in preparation for the President’s SONA later in the afternoon. (Mark Balmores)

The groups from militant and cause-oriented organizations vowed a “no let-up protest” come rain or shine, focusing their protest on “unreasonable tax imposition and deceptive polices like the Disbursement Accreleration Program (DAP).”

The protest rally led by by Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) added to the heavy traffic along Commonwealth Avenue which had a portion closed to vehicles as early as 5:30 a.m.

The protesters braved the changes of the weather. They raised the giant wooden yellow cross with the slogan “Pasakit sa Manggagawa’’ (workers yoke) and “Patalsikin’’ (Oust) painted on each side. Leody de Guzman national chairperson of BMP said the burdensome yellow cross is the most appropriate image to depict the burden that millions of Filipinos had endured.

Below are the faces of SONA 2014 showing the different moods in and around the House of Representatives, starting with President Aquino delivering his fifth SONA (top photo), faces of the protest rallies, and some “selfie” moments to capture the mood.