Partido Manggagawa slams SONA protest ban

Published July 24, 2020, 6:14 PM

by Leslie Ann Aquino

Labor group Partido Manggagawa (PM) on Friday assailed the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) for using the COVID-19 pandemic to “stifle legitimate dissent and actions”  guaranteed by the constitution.

PM chairperson Rene Magtubo said this in reaction to the memorandum released by the DILG reiterating the prohibition on mass gatherings days before the State of the Nation Address of President Duterte on July 27.

Labor groups already announced they will hold protest actions on the said day.

“We strongly condemn the ban. It is an outright disregard of the people’s right to peacefully assemble and collectively express their grievances with the government in relation to its mishandling of the COVID crises and its effect on workers’ job and livelihood,” Magtubo said in a statement.

The NAGKAISA Labor Coalition also condemned what they said is the latest attempt of the government to thwart  the people’s constitutional right to freedom of expression and assembly.

“NAGKAISA reminds the Duterte government that no law prevents the people from exercising its constitutional rights,” Sonny Matula, chairperson of Nagkaisa said.

“An Inter Agency Task Force resolution is not a law. It can never contravene  the constitution,” he added.

Matula said they are more determined to mobilize their members to join the SONAgKAISA protest action on Monday to register the working people’s “deepening disgust to the government’s criminal neglect of the people’s welfare especially in the time of the pandemic.”

Magtubo also assured that protesters will strictly observe minimum health protocols such as wearing masks and observing physical distancing.