Palace to Independence Day protesters: Go online
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Monday urged people who are planning to stage protests on Independence Day to turn to social media and hold demonstrations online to avoid mass gatherings in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, protests were held online during Labor Day, May 1 and the same should be the case come June 12 when the Philippines commemorates its 122nd independence.
Roque said this in light of the arrest of seven rallyists in a recent Anti-Terror Bill protest in the University of the Philippines (UP) Cebu.
“Sa mga lugar na talagang mataas ang banta ng COVID-19, eh huwag niyo naman po i-violate ‘yung ating quarantine rules kagaya ng social distancing. Puwede po magprotesta online. Hindi po natin sinusupil ‘yan,” Roque said in a televised opess briefing.
(In areas where the COVID-19 threat is high, please don’t violate our quarantine rules such as social distancing. You can protest online. We don’t suppress that.)
Earlier, Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan called on the protesters to bring flowers and call their gathering a “mañanita,” or a little morning celebration of a birthday to avoid being arrested, like Metro Manila police chief Debold Sinas.
Sinas earlier drew fierce criticisms for ignoring physical distancing and other health protocols under the COVID-19 quarantine rules during a mañanita on his 56th birthday last May 8.
Sinas, along with other police officials in the mass gathering, was criminally charged but instead of being arrested like ordinary quarantine rule violators, the Metro Manila top cop kept his post and drew the support of none other than President Duterte himself.
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