- President Duterte invited the leaders of the militant group who staged a rally during the SONA for a merienda
- Bayan leader Renato Reyes Jr. said they were surprised by the invitation
- Reyes said they appreciated the President’s gesture
The leader of the militant group that staged a rally near the Batasan Complex where President Rodrigo Duterte delivered his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) expressed amazement after he and other militant leaders were invited to eat snacks with the president after the SONA.
Bagong Alyansa Makabayan (Bayan) secretary general Renato Reyes, Jr., who led the peaceful rally, said they were packing things up when they were called by the police and was told to go with them.
On his Facebook account, Reyes wrote:
“We were seated at the island along Batasan Road, resting while waiting for the pack up of the stage when we were approached by the PNP who asked us to go with them. The PNP did not say where and why. We just followed thinking they wanted to just discuss something. Turns out we were brought to a lounge where the President was waiting. He wanted to meet the activists gathered outside. Many had left though. Kami ni Beng ‘yung na-pick up ng PNP. The Mindanao delegation had to walk back to Batasan to catch up as they too were going home.
In the meeting with the President, we talked about peace and how the president wanted to devote more resources to social services once the armed conflict is resolved. He talked about how the Lumad can return home without fear for their safety. It was a long meeting, starting at 7pm and ending at 830pm. It was a gesture we truly appreciated. A lot of firsts indeed in the president’s first SONA.”
The Bayan leader shared some photos of the meet up on his Facebook account.