THE situation in Metro Manila and the rest of the country remained generally peaceful as of 4 p.m. yesterday with the Philippine National Police on full alert in anticipation of projected big anti-martial law rallies, said PNP chief Director General Oscar D. Albayalde.
Pro- and anti-Duterte rallyists yesterday held peaceful rallies in various parts in Manila in connection with the 46th anniversary of Martial law.
Manila Police District (MPD) spokesman Supt. Carlos Manuel said that based on the records of the MPD-District Tactics Operation Center, about 3,000 pro-Duterte rallyists trooped to the Quirino Grandstand in Luneta.
Those against, on the other hand, assembled at the UST vicinity on Espana Boulevard. They were estimated to be about 1,200 and also headed towards Luneta.
At the Bonifacio Shrine, some 200 militants also gathered to bash the government.
The rallies in Luneta ended peacefully, Manuel said.
About 500 pro-government groups also marched from Mandaluyong City on their way to the Quirino Grandstand.
The demonstrators included members of the militant Bayan, Kadamay and other multi-sectoral groups opposed to the Duterte presidency.
There were also some 500 members of the Kilusang Mayo Uno and Partido ng Manggagawa monitored marching towards the Bonifacio Shrine in P. Burgos, Ermita, Manila while another 200 protesters were coming from La Salle Taft.
National Capital Region Police Office chief, Director Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar solicited the public’s cooperation in keeping peace and order in mass actions and urged the citizenry to stay calm and vigilant and not to believe the post or comments on netizens on the social media especially those that may cause fear and panic.
“I have directed all NCRPO district directors concerned to directly supervise the patrol on the stretch of the highway from Monumento in Caloocan City to Taft Avenue in Pasay City as well as to ensure the visibility of policemen along EDSA,” said Eleazar as he assured the public that they are ready to serve and protect them 24/7.
Pocket demonstrations were also monitored in some parts of the country involving militant groups.
Gen. Albayalde advised protesters to be careful of colleagues who might incite trouble and create havoc on the streets.
“’Yung mga nagrarally, mag-iingat din po tayo. Hindi lahat ng kasama natin diyan ay talagang magrarally lang… o gusto lang ipagbigay alam publicly ang kanilang saloobin. Meron po dyan kapag infiltrated ‘yung isang grupo, baka mamaya mag-initiate ng hindi maganda o violent na action,” the country’s top cop said.
The PNP chief assured that security forces are prepared to deal with any trouble-makers in the country as the 190,000-strong police force went on full alert on Thursday. As of press time. Gen. Albayalde said they haven’t monitored any public disturbance in the streets as a result of the anti-martial law demonstrations.
In Negros Oriental and in Cebu City, there were small protest rallies early in the morning although the situation in the region remained generally peaceful, said Police Regional Office 7 director Chief Supt. Debold M. Sinas.
Amid monitored moves by forces opposed to the Duterte administration, all geared at polarizing the nation and attracting support for their cause, the PNP on Thursday went on high alert ready to keep peace and order amid planned major protests by Left-led groups in today’s 46th anniversary of the Martial Law declared by former strongman Ferdinand Marcos in 1972.
There have been information that the political opposition are determined to overthrow President Duterte and won’t stop until he is out of office and indicted for the things they accused him of specifically of alleged human rights violations as a result of his unrelenting war against illegal drug trafficking and abuse.
“Motivated by different shades of vested interests, various groups monitored to be led by the CPP/NPA/NDF will hold various protests in Metro Manila and other key cities on 21 September to vainly try to embarrass and undermine a popular administration of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. They will latch on to various political and economic issues already being addressed by the government,” PNP spokesman, newly-promoted Chief Supt. Benigno B. Durana Jr., said in a press conference.
Gen. Albayalde ordered the fielding of a 4,000-strong Civil Disturbance Management (CDM) contingent in Metro Manila as a preemptive more in response to the situation.
The CDM contingent will ensure order and rule of law in tomorrow’s mass actions. Another 1,000-strong reserve force will be on standby at the National Headquarters ready to be deployed on short notice to where they will be needed,” he said.
With Itchie G. Cabayan