Scores hurt as protesters clash with cops

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MANILA, Philippines — Five thousand students and peasants burned effigies of President Benigno Aquino III and Uncle Sam but were stopped by police from getting close to the Batasang Pambansa to denounce the government’s alleged failure to improve the plight of laborers, triggering a brief melee that left scores injured.

Fire trucks, steel barricades and a 6,000-strong police force blocked the protesters led by the leftist group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) on Commonwealth Avenue in front of Ever Gotesco mall about 2 kilometers from the Congress building, where the President delivered his annual State of the Nation Address (Sona).

A brief scuffle ensued when a group led by the militant League of Filipino Students attempted to breach the police line after the effigies were burned.

Bayan said 95 protesters, mostly students, were hurt as rocks flew at mid-afternoon. Bayan said 11 of those injured required treatment at East Avenue Medical Center. The Philippine National Red Cross reported 16 injuries.

Chief Superintendent Mario Dela Vega said the injured included two foreign news agency photographers, two local TV cameramen, 10 policemen and a garbage truck driver.

Around 10 gays stole the show, providing a respite from the street tension. Wearing colorful head gears and banners, they paraded in front of the phalanx of policemen and protesters chanting slogans calling on Aquino to push for the human rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals.

Bayan militants numbering from several hundreds to several thousands staged relatively peaceful marches and rallies in major provincial capitals, according to police officials and Philippine Daily Inquirer reporters.

“All public assemblies and mass activities held today in different parts of Metro Manila and some key cities of the country were generally peaceful,” Director General Nicanor Bartolome of the Philippine National Police said in a statement shortly after the President ended his speech at 5:30 p.m.

Protesters on Commonwealth Avenue denounced police for stopping them at around noon—four hours before Aquino delivered his Sona.

Edre Olalia of the National Union of Peoples Lawyers said Bayan filed an application for a rally permit on July 10. He said the Public Assembly Act has mandated the city government to act on rally applications within two days after which the authorization would be deemed granted.

“As far as we are concerned, our protest is legal, by operation of law. And you are violating the law,” Olalia told police officers.

The ground commander, Supt. Marcelino Pedrozo and human rights monitor, Supt. Nicanor Salamera said they did not receive any approved rally permit from the City Hall. “We are allowing them to hold their rally here out of consideration,” Pedrozo said.

Senior Superintendent Joel Pagdilao, Quezon City Police District deputy director for operations, estimated the crowd at over 5,000.

Up to 3,000 protesters joined rallies in the provinces of Iloilo, Capiz and Aklan to voice out their own versions of the Sona.

“We have become poorer because the prices of commodities continue to increase. Many remain landless and have no jobs, especially those in hinterland villages,” said Aileen Catamin, a former village chief who joined a protest of indigenous peoples in Capiz.

In Bacolod City, about 500 Bayan militants burned an effigy of an eagle, representing the United States, and an Octopus to symbolize the various social ills besetting the nation.

“It’s no fun in the Philippines when it comes to the urban poor situation,” said Irineo Longinos, Kadamay-Negros spokesperson.

Around 100 members of Sanlakas, Freedom from Debt Coalition, and Bukluran ng mga Manggawang Pilipino marched from Colon Street to Fuente Osmeña Circle in Cebu City at around 10 a.m. They brought with them camote and dried fish, which they ate after their short program at noontime.

Bayan Negros  secretary general Christian Tuayon rated the President’s performance on leading the country and implementing economic and political programs at one, on a scale of one to 10.

Sanlakas and the two other groups in Cebu gave the President a grade of 70.76 in several aspects — the right to work, food, housing, health and education.

Protests by militants in the Luzon cities of Baguio, Legaspi, Naga and Daet highlighted alleged human rights violations.

(With reports from Dona Z. Pazzibugan in Manila; Nestor Burgos Jr., Jhunnex Napallacan and Carla Gomez, Inquirer Visayas; Tonette Orejas, Armand Galang and Robert Gonzaga, Inquirer Central Luzon; Desiree Caluza, Inquirer Northern Luzon; Mar S. Arguelles and Juan Escandor Jr., Inquirer Southern Luzon)

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YAU43R25CAHGNYPHE6HLAM3V6Y Benjamin

    matinde na talaga ang tama ni satur at casino…akala nila sikat na sila at susunod ang mga tao sa kanila….LUMALABAS MGA AGENT NG CHINA ITONG MGA HINAYUPAK NA BAYAD MUNA NA ITO….GUSTO NILA MASAKOP NG CHINA ANG PILIPINAS ,,,MGA KOMUNISTA !!!!!!

  • prinsipeprinsep

    dapat i bala sa kanyon papuntang tsina tong mga hinayupak na to!!!

    nag dadala ng gulo lang ang mga ito dito i.tsk

    nakaka hiya kayo!

  • Ommm

    Blah…these young protesters should learn that Rome was not built in one day…or the Philippines cannot be rebuilt in two years….

  • Hunter421

    Don’t make any trouble and there won’t be any trouble. Why would they protest BEFORE President Aquino gave his SONA? The President had a lot of good news, past, present and future. It is impossible to please those people.

  • pfc_kulapu

    Satur Ocampo and et al , congrat!!!
    as per your plan. nang yari ang gulo… dyan kayo natutuwa mag kagulo ang pilipinas…
    pangarap pa ninyo mag ka civil war tayo… 
    MGA WALANG HIYA….. 
    MAKABAYAN KUNO……

  • pfc_kulapu

    SATUR OCAMPO , penitition kn ni ka roger… sama na daw kayo doon sa empyerno….
    watch out mga uod is coming……

  • dominator1

    Buti nga sa inyo mga nangugulo! Kung ako sa mga pulis pinag papalo ko kau sa mukha nyo mga communist s#*t.. Mga walang magawa sa buhay kundi mangulo. Mga mangmang pakamatay na Lang kau. Wala kaung Naiitulong sa pilipinas puro kau Tanga!

  • PutingAgila

    SATUR OCAMPO, Ilang milyon na ang halaga ng ari-ari-an pag-aari ng mamamayan ang sinira ng mga kampon mong BUISIT NAS KOMUNISTA? Mag tulay, police outpost, government buildings, etc. WALANGHIYA kayong mga SALOT na KOMUNISTA! O, yan, matuwa ka dahil wala si PALPARAN, ANO? 

  • asdafaa qwesda

    “…the right to work, food, housing, health and education.”

    At sino ang magbabayad sa mga “karapatan” mo? Taxes of hardworking people who through a combination of their own efforts and help from others acquired work, food, housing, health, and education for themselves.

    If these things ever became a right; that one can demand from someone (and it is someone because ALL GOVT MONEY IS MONEY FROM TAXPAYERS) work, food, housing, health, and education without offering something of value in exchange; why would anyone strive to work for these things?

    Magpakasarap na lang ako. Tutal karapatan ko mabigyan ng pagkain, pabahay, trabaho, etc. etc. Ba’t pa maghihirap sumikap para makuha and mga ito?

    Buwisit kayong mga garapata ng lipunan! Dapat sa inyo ipako sa krus! Magboboto kayo sa kahit sinong TRAPO ng ipapangako ito (ahem ERAP ahem SATUR). Ngunit sa totoo, kukunin nila ang pera ng mga nagsisikap o u-utang sa IMF/WB para ipondo ang inyong delusion. Then more and more of the best and brightest pinoys will try to imigrate as the fruits of their labor merely go to parasites like you (populist projects or servicing foreign debts). JUST LIKE WHAT MARCOS DID!

    THAT’S RIGHT MARCOS AND THESE LEFTISTS ACTIVISTS ARE THE SAME FRIGGIN PARASITES.

  • OTapaim

    I am all for anybody’s right to expression, but that right does not include the right to hurt police officers.  The police has the right and duty to protect themselves against those who do not respect their authority. Bayan organizers should be held responsible for the actions of their people and any injury to any police officer should be attributed to them.  Truth is, the next time this happens, I hope the police use live bullets against these people who has no respect for men in uniform.  

    To Bayan…. what is it that you really want?  If you just want to express yourself, why not do it any other day?  If you really want to pursue some political agenda, then why not convince us with your reason?  If you have not noticed, as a percentage of votes, votes for the whole Bayan coalition has consistently eroded since 2004.  You may want to ask yourself, what have you really accomplished?  Why are you losing popular support? As a taxpayer, I am frustrated that your group (and not the group you think you represent), probably do not pay much taxes, and yet, the government spends so much to clean the mess you cause, to protect the general public against the violence emanating from your assemblies, to attend to any wounded person, etc.  As a taxpayer, please do not waste the money I pay to the government. Please do not make the government spend the money I pay in taxes protecting me and people like me (i.e., the ordinary folks) from the menace that is your group (i.e., Bayan/KMU/KMP/Gabriela/etc).

  • Hey_Dudes

    This my fellow countrymen explains why there are 6500 security forces deployed near congress building.  It was not to protect those inside the building including the president delivering his state of the nation address, it was the make sure these rent a mob protesting just about anything under the sun do not burn the city.  If not for that, there is no need for a single police or soldier to be guarding anyone.  This is what our country has been turned into by these terrorist masquerading as militants or something else.  This is the part I admired the late dictator Marcos.  During his time, these terrorist were just a bunch of cowards who are now trying to collect from their acts in the past.

  • ApoLapullapu

    That is why the SONA never mentioned the Administration’s performance in upholding human rights.  It respects only one human right – the right to believe everything that the President says.  If the state of the nation is as rosy as mentioned in the SONA why are thousands protesting?  If the protesters are just a handful of communists who protest against anything, why 6500 policemen have to be deployed near Congress.  The issues they are raising must be dealt with.  Otherwise, their numbers will continue to swell. In the United States, protesters are not dubbed communists outright.  Government monitors the issues they raise and act on them.  Demonstrations are not always done by communists.  In Democracies, a demonstration is an exercise of the Freedom of Expression.  But demonstrators should not attack police ranks.

    • PikonNaKami

      Thousands are protesting because they do not have anything else to do.  They are professional protesters.  

      Renato Reyes has been protesting since I can remember.  Are there no other democratically elected leaders in Bayan?  How can they talk about democracy when they are run by a dictator?

      LFS? League of Five Students? The only way they can get news now is to do everything to hurt police officers. That’s hooliganism, not patriotism.

      They keep on saying that the country is not democratic.  Then how could the likes of Satur Ocampo and Teddy Casino be elected as members of congress? What have they done while they were in congress? Where did their pork barrels go?

  • richard ortega

    ano ba talaga ang pinaglalaban ng mga party list na yan sa gobyerno ni noynoy?

  • fasoriamd

    These students if they are really students are ill mannered. They blatantly showed their disrespect to the president and to the nation. The members of this group Bayan are unruly and should be dealt with the fullest extent of the law.  

    • Karabkatab

      Hindi naman siguro nila nilalapastangan ang presidente at bansa sa kanilang ginagawa.  Ang una nilang binibigyan insulto at kalungkutan ay ang kanilang mga magulang na syang nagtutustos sa kanilang araw araw na kabuhayan at umaasang nag aaral ng matiwas ang kanilang minamahal na mga anak.

  • Karabkatab

    Ang alam ko sa provincia, ang rate per day para sumama sa rally is P200/day, libre chow, tulog sa jeep and free transport back and forth.  Hindi ko alam ang rate sa MM, mas mataas siguro kompara sa provincia.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/WBI5HRFTN5DGFGJ5W4ZAAQIZNI Joseph

    total my permit nman ang rally hindi pa pueding e anunsyo in public kung hanggang saan lng sila at anu oras simula at mtapos rally pra mga motorista minsan aware at mka iwas sa trafic.kawawa ksi mijnsan mga driver wlang ng kita sa trafic n gawa nila at perwesyo sa mga pasehero.if 2 days dpat m realase n ang permit kung 23  SONA n iPnoy  puedi siguro mg anounce siya ng venue  mga 22 na,puedi ba yun?pra kung kukuha sila ng permit mg rally sa batasan complex e anounce ni Pnoy sa ibang venue siya mg SONA kung puedi.hehe. pra bahala sila mg sisigaw sa batasan.wlang pulis na pipigil sa kanila iwas gulo,iwas trafic.

  • Ervin Bayron

    WTH

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