ALBAY Representative Edcel Lagman on Tuesday found as "grossly insincere" President Rodrigo Duterte's work suspension on Thursday, which happened to be the 45th anniversary of martial law declaration.
In a statement, Lagman said Duterte's "no-work" declaration is tantamount to a "holiday" and can be interpreted as honoring the beginning of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos' one-man rule.
Duterte on Monday said he will suspend government work and public school classes on Thursday, September 21, in order for people to "join protests" in commemoration of martial law.
"In the past, declarations of instant holidays were made to dissuade people, particularly students and workers, from staging protest actions, not to encourage them to join rallies and demonstrations. The Duterte administration has no concrete program of action to make the supposed 'day of protest' a reality," Lagman said.
Duterte refused to call the suspension a holiday, instead labeling it as "national day of protest."
But Lagman said, "Duterte's 'day of protest' is grossly tainted with insincerity because he openly idolizes the dictator Marcos."
Marcos declared martial law on September 21, 1972. His 20-year tenure was marked by human rights abuses and corruption.
Marcos, his family, and cronies were also accused of amassing ill-gotten wealth, most of which is still subject to recovery efforts by the government.
On Thursday, over 1,400 cops will keep the demonstrations peaceful.
Manila Police District (MPD) director Joel Coronel said they have prepared for any incidents that may occur during the protests.
He said that of the 1,400 police forces, 600 will come from the MPD while the others are the augmentation force from the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO).
Coronel said the cops whose main task is the crowd control and traffic management will be deployed as early as 5 a.m.
He said they have not monitored any direct threat against the upcoming event but intelligence monitoring is ongoing.
Coronel, however, urged the militants to conduct the protest in an orderly manner and avoid inciting violence.
He said they are bound to implement maximum tolerance but the safety of the public is still on top of their priority. (With Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo/SunStar Philippines)