Belmonte asks QCPD to answer claims of ‘violation of agreement’ during Sona
MANILA, Philippines — Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte on Tuesday ordered the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) to submit a written explanation to shed light on allegations made by rally organizers during a protest march on Monday ahead of President Rodrigo Duterte’s final State of the Nation Address (Sona).
Protest organizers accused the QCPD of violating the agreement between them and Belmonte by blocking their protest march and placing orange barriers and police blockades.
Former Bayan Muna Representative Teddy Casino also called on Mayor Belmonte and Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Guillermo Eleazar on Monday to comply with the agreement so that the protesters can finish their program and go home. Otherwise, he said, they “will all end up stuck along Commonwealth Avenue the whole day.”
Some stupid police official decided to put up orange barriers along Commonwealth Avenue to block the march, in violation of the agreement with the QC LGU and PNP command that marchers would be allowed to reach St. Peter's Chapel in Tandang Sora. Kaya ngayon barado ang daan. pic.twitter.com/iHBrtqml8n
— Teddy Casiño (@teddycasino) July 26, 2021
Orange barriers have been placed in front of the march’s route. The protest organizers had requested that the barriers be removed so that the march could reach its destination.
The day before the SONA protests, organizers detailed their plans to ensure orderly protest actions while observing minimum health protocols. These were then forwarded to and approved by PNP Chief Guillermo Eleazar and the Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año through Belmonte.
The QC gov’t said this year’s Sona activities were also the first time various progressive groups worked with the Quezon City government and the QCPD “to uphold both the human right to health and the constitutional rights to peaceable assembly and free speech.”
The protesters first gathered at the University of the Philippines-Diliman at 9:00 a.m. on Monday before marching to Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City, around 11:45 a.m.
Both Sona organizers and the PNP noted that the protests ended “peacefully” around 1:30 p.m. despite the confrontation between the protesters and the authorities.
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