No sparks in Cebu’s celebration of Independence Day

Published June 12, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Calvin Cordova

CEBU CITY — No major rallies, no violent dispersals. That was how the 122nd Independence Day celebration went here Friday.

(Juan Carlo de Vela / MANILA BULLETIN)
(Juan Carlo de Vela / MANILA BULLETIN)

Anti-riot police were deployed in key areas in the city, preventing cause-oriented groups from holding long rallies.

Around 8 a.m., at least 10 persons gathered on downtown Colon Street while brandishing placards showing their support to the anti-terrorism bill.

The gathering lasted only for several minutes as policemen watched the group disperse.

Anti-riot police were also deployed in front of the University of the Philippines (UP) Cebu Campus in uptown Lahug where eight protesters were arrested last June 5.

A few meters away where no police had been deployed, at least 10 members of the All UP Academic Employees Union staged a lightning rally calling for the junking of the anti-terrorism bill.

The rally only lasted for about two minutes before the protesters ran toward the inner portion of road.

Police Col. Cydric Earl Tamayo, officer-in-charge of Cebu City Police Office (CCPO), arrived in the area shortly after the lightning rally.

“The order was to observe maximum tolerance. If there are more than 10, we will reprimand them. We checked if they violated social distancing or if they are wearing of mask because we are still under general community quarantine. We are just protecting them because we are not sure if they are all COVID-free,” said Tamayo.

In a separate interview an hour after the lightning rally, Regletto Imbong, president of the union from UP, said they intentionally made the rally short “to catch the police by surprise.”

“We just made it short to spare our members from unnecessary sacrifices,” Imbong said in Cebuano.

“We decided to hold our lightning rally near UP to make still symbolic. In this 122nd celebration of our Independence Day, we are calling for the restoration of our independence. Our rights have been taken away because of anti-people and undemocratic laws and the passage of these laws were railroaded,” added Imbong.

Imbong described the presence of policemen in front of UP as overkill but Tamayo explained that policemen were deployed in areas where rallies were usually held in the past.