THE QUEZON City local government denied on Thursday progressive group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan’s (Bayan) request to hold a protest along Batasan Road during President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.’s first State of the Nation (SONA) Address on July 25.
In a July 19 letter addressed to Bayan Secretary General Renato M. Reyes, the Quezon City Department of Public Order and Safety (DPOS) said Batasan Road, which is within the city’s jurisdiction, is not a designated freedom park for rallies and mass gatherings.
It added that a rally would cause traffic congestion for motorists in the area.
“The denial by the Quezon City DPOS of our application for a rally permit violates the law and our constitutional rights,” Bayan said in a statement. “The denial is arbitrary and follows the fascist imposition of the police. It is patently wrong.”
The House of Representatives complex where the SONA will be held is located along Batasan Road.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) earlier said it would deploy over 21,000 police officers for the SONA.
PNP Spokesperson Jean S. Fajardo told a press briefing on Wednesday that violent protesters will be temporarily detained in a bus from the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology.
The PNP had listed the Quezon Memorial Circle, the Commission on Human Rights compound, and the University of the Philippines campus as designated areas for protest activities. The entire Commonwealth Avenue, which is linked to Batasan Road, was also declared a no-rally zone.
In a separate statement, farmers group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) said the denial of a permit to rally violates the group’s right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression.
“Our lives and our future are at stake here,” said Rafael V. Mariano, chairperson emeritus of KMP and former Agriculture chief.
“What right does the DPOS or the Philippine National Police have to prevent any peaceful assembly?” he added. — John Victor D. Ordoñez