Militant protesters surprise Mandaue cops in Bonifacio Day protest
MANDAUE CITY, Philippines — There was a tense standoff for a few minutes between the police and at least 80 members of militant groups in Cebu, who held a rally in Mandaue City to mark Andres Bonifacio’s 157th birth anniversary today, November 30.
This developed after the police ordered the groups to disperse from where they were gathered in front of the Department of Agriculture in Central Visayas (DA-7) office in Mandaue City because they had violated the rule on mass gatherings.
“Mura sila og nagconvoy, nakalitan mi kay ganina nagmonitor mi naa ras 30. It so happened nga pag-abot sa DA niabot nag 80 to 100,” said Police Lieutenant Jessie Tañola, Deputy chief of Mandaue City Police Office (MCPO) Station 5 or the Opao Police Station.
(They were in a convoy, and we were surprised because the number of people that we monitored earlier were only 30. It so happened that when they arrived at the DA office the crowd had reached to an estimated 80 to 100 people.)
“Medyo alarming. That’s the reason why nisulod ang kapulisan kay violation ang gatherings ron maong ato’ng gipaningkamutan nga ma disperse sila sa peaceful nga pamaagi,” said Tañola.
(This was quite alarming. That is the reason why the police interferred because they have violated the rules on crowd gathering and we tried hard to disperse them in a peaceful way.)
He said that the 80 to 100 protesters were given 15 minutes to finish their program and were told to disperse.
The protesters were calling for the junking of the Anti-Terror Act.
They also condemned the government for red tagging members of unions and militant groups as terrorists.
” Sa mga mamumuno nga nagdemanda sa saktong suhulan ug kasiguruan sa trabaho, terrorista ba diay na? Sa mga mag-uuma nagdemanda og ayuda ug tinuod nga reporma sa yuta, terrorista ba diay na? Sa atun’g mga kabatan-unan nga nagdemenda og luwas balik eskwela, terrorista ba diay na? Sa ato’ng kababayen-an ug mga urban poor nga nagdemenda og disenten’g kapuy-an, terrorist ba diay na?,” asked Paglinawan.
(To the workers who demanded for the right salary and security of tenure at work, are they terrorists? To the farmers who demanded for true land reform, are they terrorists? To the youth, who demanded a safe way to return to classes, are they terrorists then? To the women and the urban poor, who asked for a decent home, are they terrorists then?)
The militant groups who attended the rally included members of Bayan Muna and Anakbayan.
After their program in front of the DA-7 office, some of the protesters argued with the 10 policemen, who asked them to disperse after their program.
The situation became tense when some of the protesters argued with policemen who ordered them to disperse because they had violated the rule on mass gathering in the city.
But eventually, both sides calmed down and the protesters voluntarily dispersed.
Meanwhile, the members of the Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operators Nationwide (PISTON) Cebu chapter who also attended the rally appealed to the city government to allow the Traditional Public Utility Jeepneys (TPUJ) to ply back on the city streets.
“Pipila lang makabalik, dili tanan (padaganon). Daghan kaayo og requirements. Mao na diri particular ni Mayor Jonas nga maghimo siya’g lakang niini. Maabot gyud mi kadugayan nga manawagan gyud mi sa pagkanaog niya dira kung dili siya mabuhat og lakang niini, ” said Greg Perez, PISTON-Cebu Chairman.
(There are only a few jeepneys that have returned. Not all tradional public utility jeepneys are allowed to operate. There are so many requirements. That is why Mayor Jonas [Cortes] should do something about this. There will come a time when we will call for him to step down if he will not do any steps about this.)
The city government will be holding a one-stop-shop for the issuance of a special permit to operate for TPUJ this December 1 to 4, 2020 at the Mandaue City Cultural and Sports Complex.
The city has allowed drivers to pay their pending penalties in installments./dbs
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