AN OFFICIAL of the Cagayan de Oro City Police Office (Cocpo) said security measures are in place and policemen have been put on alert for the planned mass actions on Thursday, September 21, which has been declared as "National Day of Protest" by President Rodrigo Duterte.
On Tuesday, September 19, the President inked Proclamation 319, declaring September 21 as a “National Day of Protest,” to pave way for the Filipino people’s “call against all excesses and shortcomings of the government” and their “desire to uphold the highest standards of integrity, efficiency, and accountability in government.”
Local militant groups and other critics of Duterte have earlier vowed to go out in the streets to remember President Ferdinand Marcos’ martial law declaration 45 years ago.
The mass actions on Thursday will be held at the Magsaysay park in Divisoria at 2:00 p.m.
Cocpo spokesperson Chief Inspector Mardy Hortillosa II said policemen will be within 50 meters away from the protesters so they can respond if the need arises.
Hortillosa said lawless and criminal elements may take advantage of the mass actions and do violent actions.
But Hortillosa assured the public that they would not hinder any group from conducting peaceful assembly to voice out their grievances against government policies.
"Among kabalak-an kay basin naay mosakay sa panahon nga mangubot unya police dayon ang pasanginlan busa naa ra ta sa palibot mag-monitor aron dali ta matawag kung kinahanglan nila assistance,"Hortillosa said.
Hortillosa said they worry that criminal elements would blend with the protesters and agitate violence.
"Basin unyag naay mosagol sa mga raliyesta unya mamato sa mga property sa palibot aron ipakita ang kasuko sa gobyerno unya mag-agitate sa mga raliyesta," Hortillosa said.
"Ang instruction is sa barrack ra unta ang police pero lisod man kay basin unyag naay mahitabo unya walay police. Flexible atong security measures," Hortillosa added.
The Cocpo spokesman also said intelligence personnel in police stations were also ordered to monitor their respective jurisdiction and report any mass demonstrations.
This after none have so far secured permit to rally at the city hall.
"Nag-coordiante ko sa City Hall so far walay nangayo og permit so wala ta kabalo aha ang mga rally busa ang mga intel personnel atong gipamonitor," Hortillosa said.
Volunteers under the community police patrol project were also tapped to help monitor protests and rallies.
Hortillosa maintained that Cocpo respects the rights of any group to assemble but he is asking demonstrators to control their colleagues and avoid disorder and lawless actions.
"Girespeto sa Cocpo ang katungod sa katawhan nga mag-conduct og peaceful assembly pero hangyo pud nato nga magbinantayon sila sa ilang palibot ug dili tugotan ang si kinsa nga mosakay sa panahon ug pugngan pud ilang membro nga dili mohimo og violent actions kay kami naa ra sa kilid kung need nila assistance," Hortillosa said. (With SunStar Philippines)