Cultural activists launch lighting protest in the Netherlands to refute President Duterte’s SONA

The Willem Geertman Brigade protests against President Rodrigo Duterte’s actions betraying Philippine sovereignty, violations of human rights and disregard of the people’s interests and welfare.

Theater artist Joanna Lerio strikes a pose showing the sad state of the Philippine justice system in support of the United People’s SONA mobilization in the Philippines / Photo JonB

Utrecht, The Netherlands—As Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte readies to deliver his third State of the Nation Address (SONA), cultural activists belonging to the Willem Geertman Brigade (WGB) launched a lightning protest action at the Stationsplein of the Utrecht Centraal Station.

The WGB responded to the call of the United People’s SONA – Netherlands for Filipinos and their supporters to conduct mass actions in the Netherlands to protest the president’s actions betraying Philippine sovereignty, violations of human rights and disregard of the people’s interests and welfare.

The United People’s SONA, an alliance of Filipino migrant organizations in key cities in Europe including Amsterdam, The Hague and Utrecht, refuted Duterte’s claims, and urged fellow Filipinos in Europe and their allies to support the struggle of the Filipino people for justice, peace, and genuine social change.

“Overseas Filipino workers work hard to be able to support their families back home. But the government continues to neglect their families and loved ones,” said Jun Saturay. “Instead of comfort and assurance that they will be able to enjoy the benefits of our hard work, the government has taken measures that resulted in a mockery of the justice system, not to mention more exactions for OFWs, higher taxes, increase in the prices of basic commodities, and decrease in social services,” he added.

LINANGAN
Willem Geertman Art and Culture Network ( or simply LINANGAN – literally “a furrow or field for planting” in Filipino.), is a community open to “creative” individuals and groups based in the Netherlands – storytellers, musicians, visual artists, writers, theater artists, composers, poets, spoken word artists, educators, photographers, digital artists, cooks, bartenders etc. regardless of gender, race, nationality, whether they are professionals, amateurs, or hobbyists – who are willing to lend their talents, skills and works in response to urgent issues and concerns that affect people and communities in the Netherlands and in other parts of the world.