Filipino artists went the creative route and showcased artworks and paintings during the protest rally ahead of the last State of the Nation Address on July 26.
Large versions of the “Tumindig” avatar, a raised fist that recently symbolized resistance, also joined them for the annual “WakaSONA” event at the University of the Philippines-Diliman.
For his last SONA, Malacañang said President Rodrigo Duterte will discuss social programs, foreign policy and other achievements of his administration for the past five years.
With the still raging coronavirus pandemic and the threat of the Delta variant, the number of attendees who will be physically present at the Batasang Pambasa Complex will also be limited.
Vice President Leni Robredo will be among the officials who will attend the SONA remotely.
Duterte’s SONA is expected to start at 4 pm.
Hours ahead of it, members of progressive groups, activists and other critics took the streets to air out their grievances over the failures and questionable policies of the national government.
While others held banners and posters, some Filipino artists held up their artworks that depict their sentiments toward the administration.
Rights group Concerned Artists of the Philippines shared photos of these on Facebook on Sunday, July 25.
“Rain or shine, handa na para humatol ang mga artista ng bayan. #WakaSONA #ArtistsFightBack #DuterteWakasan,” read the caption.
The artworks or paintings looked like graphic novel covers with the title “Wakasan Na!”
Other activists, meanwhile, created and brought their own enlarged versions of the “Tumindig” avatar.
This was popularized by another Filipino artist named Kevin Eric Raymundo or Tarantadong Kalbo after he posted an illustration of it on July 22.
The original illustration showed the raised fist avatar amid a crowd of anthropomorphic fists bowing down in obedience or submission to someone.
The bowed down fists referenced the common fist bump gesture Duterte and his supporters normally make in official photos.
Raymundo’s poster immediately sparked an online movement where other artists, progressive groups and even concerned Filipinos joined in solidarity to express their resistance and dissent.
Human rights group Karapatan shared photos of the effigy version of the character, which also depicted the symbol of Twitter, with the phrase “Duterte Wakasan” written on it.
— Karapatan (@karapatan) July 25, 2021
Lumad teacher and activist Chad Booc also shared photos of their raised-fist posters at the march.
“Nandito na ang hanay ng Pambansang Minorya sa UP Diliman para makiisa sa sambayanang lumalaban!” Booc wrote.
Nandito na ang hanay ng Pambansang Minorya sa UP Diliman para makiisa sa sambayanang lumalaban! ✊🏾 pic.twitter.com/EUhCP4RNi1
— Chad Booc (@KasamangChad) July 25, 2021
Renato Reyes of BAYAN, meanwhile, shared a group photo of all the protesters who used the raised-fist icon.
— Renato Reyes, Jr. (@natoreyes) July 26, 2021
CAP members also made their own shirt designs inspired by both Raymundo’s character and The Punisher, a Marvel comic book character.
It was illustrated by artist Veneracion Rallonza.
“We the Concerned Artist of the Philippines are reclaiming the Punisher Icon from a symbol of murder, to one of Justice starting today July 26, 2021, on Duterte’s last State of the Nation Address. We wear this symbol collectively as a sign of unity to end the killings, to seek justice, and demand accountability,” they said.