Police arrest 16 protesters in Iligan, but say rallies generally peaceful
The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Friday said mass protests done in commemoration for the Independence Day were generally peaceful even as least 16 youth protesters were arrested after conducting their rally in Iligan City.
“Public activities in commemoration of the 122nd Araw ng Kalayaan were orderly and in compliance with minimum health standards,” said Police General Archie Francisco Gamboa, PNP chief, said in a statement.
Gamboa thanked the public for their cooperation and for heeding the call of the PNP to avoid mass gatherings as a public health measure against the spread of COVID-19.
He cited the early voluntary dispersal of some public assemblies at UP Diliman, De La Salle University; St.Ignatius Quezon City; Santiago City, Isabela, Baguio City, Legazpi City and Metro Colon, Cebu City.
PNP said their regional police reported 16 members of STAND-IIT and Iligan Youth Advocate, led by a certain Franz Luigi Yaun, were arrested.
They conducted their action around 11am in front of Iligan Medical Center College.
A news report quoted Yaun saying police allowed them to conduct a protest for 10 minutes but even before it lapsed, they were arrested.
Police said they are preparing charges which will be filed against the individuals who are at the Iligan City Police Station for profiling.
Gamboa said PNP units remain deployed in perennial public assembly venues to enforce IATF guidelines on mass gathering and physical distancing.
Members from the Congress of Teachers/Educators for Nationalism and Democracy, Movement Against Tyranny, Gabriela Youth, Anakbayan ? Albertus Magnus, Kilusang Mayo Uno Metro Manila, Concerned Artists of the Philippines(CAP), College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), and Anakpawis Partylist held a protest action dubbed as “Grand Mañanita” to calling for the government to "junk" the Anti-Terrorism Bill.
They also aired their concern on the government’s supposed lack of sufficient response to the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis.
Health protocols, such as physical distancing and wearing of face masks were observed by the protesters.
The mañanita was a jab to National Capital Region Police Office chief Major General Debold SInas who was accused of violating the quarantine protocols when his staff celebrated his birthday last May.
During the protest, activist Mae Paner was seen dressed up as Sinas, wearing an orange shirt and khaki shorts while holding flowers and a Voltes V themed cake.
Posting a photo on her social media account, Paner on her caption said “All of you should practice social distancing! Except me!”
The idea for the name of the protest came from opposition Senator Francis Pangilinan. Ella Dionisio/DMS