By Martin Sadongdong
The 16 individuals, most of them students, who were apprehended by the police at a “mañanita” rally in Iligan City were released from detention on Friday (June 12), the Philippine National Police (PNP) said.
Lieutenant Colonel Mardie Hortillosa, Northern Mindanao Police Regional Office (PRO-10) spokesperson, said at least 16 individuals were brought to police station as anti-riot cops dispersed a rally near the Iligan Medical Center College (IMCC) Rotunda in Barangay Pala-o around 10 a.m.
The protesters, most of whom are members of local cause-oriented organizations including STAND IIT and Iligan Youth Advocate, were freed with no criminal complaints filed against them. However, 13 of them were issued citation tickets for allegedly violating quarantine protocols on social distancing.
Meanwhile, the three other apprehended individuals got out of police custody without a citation ticket as police learned they were not part of the rallying groups.
The mañanita rally in Iligan City was only one of several mass protests held across the country that were organized to commemorate the country’s122nd Independence Day.
The mañanita rally is a reference to the controversial birthday party held last month by Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas, regional director of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), despite the government’s ban on mass gatherings due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Also on June 12, a “Grand Mañanita” rally attended by hundreds was held at the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman in Quezon City.
Among the concerns raised by protesters include the junking of the anti-terrorism bill and the call for more medical-centered rather than military-focused approaches in dealing with COVID-19.