National Day of Protest a ‘healthy exercise of democracy’—Palace
Malacañang on Thursday said the National Day of Protest was a “healthy exercise of democracy” and an opportunity for the government to hear the voices of the people.
“Today, September 21, the nation observes its first National Day of Protest, when people from all walks of life and persuasion can freely hold marches, demonstrations, public assemblies, and all forms of mass action to express their grievances against perceived or actual excesses and/or shortcomings of the government,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement.
President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday signed Proclamation 316, declaring September 21 as a National Day of Protest.
Duterte said the proclamation was “in solidarity with the people’s call against all excesses and shortcomings of the government and with the people’s desire to uphold the highest standards of integrity, efficiency and accountability in government.
“This is also an opportune time for those in the government to hear the voice of the governed as part of our efforts to uphold the highest standards of good governance,” Abella said. “The event is a healthy exercise of democracy.”
But while Malacañang said the National Day of Protest was an exercise of democracy, Abella urged protesters to refrain from violent actions during their demonstrations.
“We ask those who would join in today’s activities – supporters and critics alike – to maintain peaceful conduct and avoid causing any undue inconvenience,” he said.
“Police will observe maximum restraint and maintain distance from mass action,” he added.
In his proclamation 316, Duterte also called on protesters “to act within the bounds of law, maintain a peaceful conduct of rallies, marches and demonstrations, be vigilant of possible infiltrators who may instigate violence in an effort to provoke the police and other law enforcement authorities and avoid causing any undue inconvenience to their fellow citizens.”
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