‘O bayan ko, kailan ka tatayo?' SONA concert calls artists, public to take action

Hosted by Ateneo de Manila University’s Radyo Katipunan 87.9, Tinig ng Bayan brought together performance, prayer, and conversation to spread a message of hope, unity, and resistance, as President Rodrigo Duterte delivered his 5th State of the Nation Address (SONA).

The event saw performances and appearances from over 20 artists, including Moonstar88, The Itchyworms, Martin Nievera, Ebe Dancel, Johnoy Danao, Bullet Dumas, and Kakie Pangilinan.

The concert, which was streamed live on the station’s Facebook page, was part of the United People’s SONA or #SONAgkaisa by youth and progressive groups. It also sought to raise funds for Project Paghilom, an initiative by De La Salle Philippines to support victims of the administration’s "war on drugs."

Recurring topics during the stream included the government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the passage of the Anti-Terror Law, and the rejection of ABS-CBN’s franchise.

Importante ang papel ng sining, ng art, ng imagination, because we have to imagine beyond the real,” Fr. Bert Alejo said as he reflected on the arts and what it means in today’s time.

With a number of artists performing songs and reciting pieces that call for action, it was only fitting that Cecilia Garrucho made an appearance to represent the Philippines Educational Theater Association (PETA).

“Sandata namin ang aming sining para magkaroon ng isang bayan na tunay na malaya at hindi nasa ilalim ng takot," she said. (Our art is our weapon in fighting for a country that is truly free and free from fear.

There was almost an unfathomable sense of desperation and passion with every word that came out of each performer's mouths, as they spoke and song their hearts out. 

Opposition senator Kiko Pangilinan also spoke during the program, encouraging viewers to resist. “Kailangan magkaisa at magtipon-tipon. May paraan to fight back and we should keep doing so”  (We need to come together and unite. There's a way to fight back and we should keep doing so.)

Manindigan, tumayo, kumilos, at tumutol,” he concluded. (Make a stand, act on it, resist.)

Tinig ng Bayan was both an invitation and statement – that despite efforts to silence dissent, there will always be people willing to fight back. – Renzo Guevarra and Kiara Gorospe/Rappler.com