300 cops to be deployed for Sept. 21 rallies

SOME 300 security personnel from Davao City Police Office (DCPO) will be deployed on Thursday, September 21, to secure the peaceful protest in line with the commemoration of the 45th anniversary Martial Law declaration.

DCPO spokesperson Police Senior Superintendent Ma. Teresita Gaspan, in an interview on Tuesday, September 19, said they will enforce maximum tolerance to rallyists who will hold mass protests on the streets.

"DCPO is always prepared in terms of rallies. Maximum tolerance pa rin tayo, (that's our) guiding principle in case of managing civil disturbance," Gaspan said.

The police as well as the police volunteer auxiliary will be designated to monitor protests.

"As long as walang hostile action, impede public convenience or post danger to the public," she added.

Gaspan assured that they will respect the human rights as well as the public's right to "peaceful assembly and right to freedom of expression".

Protesters who will use the Freedom Park as their holding area are no longer required to obtain permits, however, if protesters go beyond the park, they will be asked for their permits. Otherwise, they will be properly dispersed in a peaceful negotiation.

"So far naman, submissive naman ang mga rallyista sa Davao City. The police and the rallyists meet halfway," Gaspan said.

Meanwhile, she hopes that rallyists will continue to cooperate and exercise "self-restraint" to avoid violence, as she added that the security forces will be obliged to use reasonable force if necessary.

On Monday, President Rodrigo Duterte clarified that September 21 is not declared as a holiday but merely declaring it as a "National Day of Protest", which will allow Filipino citizens to demonstrate mass protests all throughout the country.

"September 21 is not a holiday. I have declared it as a (National) Day of Protest. All who want to stage protests against the government, police, military and everyone, come down here and launch a rally," the President said.
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