By Ria Fernandez
Groups who will be staging protests in various parts of Manila on Friday assured of a peaceful commemoration of the 46th anniversary of the declaration of martial law.
Former President Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law on September 21, 1972.
Laban ng Masa National Coordinator Rasti Delizo said they already have “an agreement (with the police) to hold a peaceful demonstration in front of the Rizal Monument.”
Delizo gave the statement during “Talakayan para sa Mapayapang Paggunita ng Martial Law” organized by the Manila Police District (MPD) Tuesday morning at the Intramuros Golf Club.
He and former Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño stressed the importance of the occasion, noting that it is not only to commemorate the martial law anniversary but also to remind the young generation that this dark phase of our history must not happen again.
“We must not let another dictatorship emerge and happen under our watch,” Delizo said.
Protesters will stage separate rallies in Plaza Salamanca, Bonifacio Shrine, and Morayta starting 9 a.m. Friday. But they may also use Liwasang Bonifacio and Plaza Miranda as alternative venues, according to the MPD.
National Capital Region Police Office Chief Guillermo Eleazar said around 4,000 cops will be deployed to secure the event.
“(We will exercise) maximum tolerance. Ang maganda kasi dito nagkaroon na kami ng kasunduan. Pag meron kasing kasunduan, merong mga panuntunang dapat sundin (What’s good here is that we already have an agreement. If there is an agreement, there are guidelines that must be followed),” he said.
Eleazar added that even other rallyists who failed to secure a permit beforehand will still be allowed to join protests so long as they go to “areas that we have agreed.”
“Ang mga haharangin natin yung mga pupunta sa lugar na hindi pinag-usapan (We will only block those who will be going to places that are not included in the agreement),” he said.
Eleazar said that they have not monitored any threat yet they are “always prepared for any eventuality.”
The groups are expected to march towards the Rizal Monument at Rizal Park for the culmination of the demonstration at 4 p.m., police said.
The MPD Traffic Enforcement Unit announced the closure of the following roads from 6 a.m. onwards: north and southbound lanes of Roxas Boulevard from Katigbak Drive to Quirino Avenue, east and westbound lanes of T.M. Kalaw from M.H. del Pilar to Roxas Boulevard, and U.N. Avenue corner Roxas Boulevard – service road.
Duterte supporters set rally
Meanwhile, supporters of President Duterte are also expected to hold rally at the Burnham Green section of Rizal Park.