Protests organizers vow to comply with health protocols during SONA rally

Published July 24, 2021, 7:05 PM

by Joseph Pedrajas

Organizers of protests scheduled for President Duterte’s last State of the Nation Address (SONA) have agreed to cooperate with Quezon City authorities in implementing preventive measures against the spread of COVID-19 by not holding rallies along Commonwealth Avenue and shortening their time of activity.

This came after progressive group leaders on Saturday met with Mayor Joy Belmonte and Quezon City Police District (QCPD) director Brig. Gen. Antonio Yarra, among other city officials, to ensure their compliance with health protocols following the detection of the Delta variant.

According to the local government, organizers vowed to abide by the city ordinances and not to hold any program on Commonwealth Ave. to avoid disrupting the traffic flow.

They will also reduce their time of activity and refrain from serving foods to lessen exposure.

Personal protective equipment and alcohol will also be provided to attendees while minors and senior citizens will be prohibited from joining.

The holding of rallies has been approved by Belmonte on condition that the names and contact details of all rally participants will also be submitted to the city’s Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Unit for contact tracing purposes.

“We have an existing health crisis made more volatile by the presence of the highly infectious Delta variant in Metro Manila. It is everyone’s civic duty to adhere to minimum health standards and limited mobility,” Belmonte said.

“We were assured by the rally organizers that they would closely monitor their ranks and we consented, subject to strict adherence to health protocols,” she added.

On Thursday, progressive group leaders announced their plan to hold rallies on Duterte’s 6th and last SONA on Monday, July 26.

But the national government on Friday reverted Metro Manila and four other provinces to General Community Quarantine with heightened restrictions after the Department of Health confirmed the local transmission of COVID-19 Delta variant in the country.