Militant groups in Cebu to continue protest through ‘lightning rallies’
CEBU CITY, Philippines – The half-minute lightning rally militant groups in Cebu staged along Gorordo Avenue in Cebu City on Friday, June 12 will not be the last.
Activists here said they would not stop expressing dissent, and air out their grievances through staging ‘lightning rallies’ in the future.
Regletto Aldrich Imbong, president of the All UP (University of the Philippines) Academic Employees Union, said they decided to do a ‘lightning rally’ due to the ‘political climate’ in Cebu involving the police.
“Mao to siyang gituyo sa disenyo namo nga i-catch namo ang atung mga kapulisan sa atung element of surprise given sa mga kahimtang sa pagpangharass nila and intimidating reports but despite that ang ato mga progresibo nga grupo… wala pa nahadlok niini,” Imbong said.
(We decided to do a lightning rally using the element of surprise to catch our policemen given the current situation and reports of harassment and intimidation from their part. But despite that, our progressive groups are not afraid of conducting rallies.)
Imbong also clarified that protesters fleeing from Gorordo Avenue on Friday showed how lightning rallies were done, and that they were not enticing police to arrest them.
“Gidisenyo na nato daan nga mao to’y mahitabo. Wala tay intention (to entice police on arresting us). Ang ato lang is within a span of time magpakita ta, and then disperse,” Imbong told reporters in a press interview.
(We intended to the rally that way. We don’t have any intention to entice the police on arresting us. What we really want is to show up in the streets, and then disperse.)
No more than 10 individuals, mostly student activists, conducted a 31-second rally along Gorordo Avenue when the nation celebrated its 122nd Independence Day.
But all of them ran towards the adjoining Pedro D. Calomarde Street even before police arrived to disperse them.
They were supposed to hold the rally in front of the University of the Philippines Cebu (UP Cebu) where, last week, police arrested eight individuals in a similar event.
But Imbong said they decided to veer away from the venue where police, in full battle gear, stood guard outside the campus as early as 6 a.m.
“Kita nato nga taas-taas atong away sa tiranya no. So dili pwede nga musugal ta ug unnecessary sacrifices. Again, duol lang ta sa UP para symbolic atong lightning protests apan wala giforce nato kay para di na mahitabo ang mga wala gikinahanglan nga sakripisyo,” he added.
(We saw that our fight against tyranny might last longer. So, we cannot afford to gamble and make unnecessary sacrifices, Again, we chose to do the protests near UP for it to be symbolic although we did not force ourselves to go there in order to avoid unnecessary sacrifices.)
Aside from the All UP Academic Employees Union, Imbong said other militant groups that participated in Friday’s lightning rally included the Movement Against Tyranny (MAT) and Youth Act Against Tyranny (YAMAT).
The Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) earlier warned June 12 protesters that they could be arrested for conducting mass gatherings, which remain prohibited in areas under general community quarantine like Cebu City./dbs
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