MANILA — Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada assured Wednesday the Manila police will exercise maximum tolerance during the “Black Friday” protest at the Luneta Park on Friday, against the burial of former president Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig City.
“We will allow the protest actions provided the (protesters) will not resort to violence or destruction of properties. Also, they should not cause inconvenience to other people, particularly motorists and commuters,” Estrada said after a security briefing with the Manila Police District.
He noted that while it is the constitutional right of all Filipinos to assemble and express their grievances, it is his duty as city mayor to protect the safety and interest of the people, whether they are pro- or anti-Marcos or just plain observers.
Estrada ordered MPD director, Sr. Supt. Joel Coronel, to exercise maximum tolerance but see to it that there will not be a repeat of the incident at the US Embassy last Oct. 19 where a number of protesters and policemen were hurt during a violent dispersal.
In compliance with the mayor’s orders, Coronel said they will deploy 200 to 300 Civil Disturbance Management (CDM) personnel at the Quirino Grandstand.
“At present, we’re still in full alert, we still have CDM deployment at the Supreme Court, a hundred personnel, until such time this issue of Marcos burial is resolved,” he said, referring to the pocket rallies being staged by militant groups in the past days.
“And on Friday, depending on the projected strength of the (protesters), we will be deploying a minimum of 200 up to 300 CDM personnel at the Quirino Grandstand, and also traffic policemen,” he pointed out.
More than the rally, Coronel said their immediate concern is traffic as they are expecting thousands of protesters to join the anti-Marcos demonstration.
“So far, as announced by President Duterte himself, he will allow the protest rallies, so long as they are peaceful and no violent action or destruction of properties will be undertaken by the protesters… So we will allow them to assemble and express their grievances,” the MPD chief said.
He said he will be in Luneta to oversee personally the hundreds of security personnel who will be guarding the site.
“We will exercise maximum tolerance, I hope they will also respect the rights of other people, especially the motorists, and those going to work and going to school on that day. I hope they will not be an obstruction to the commuters, residents, students, employees, pro-Marcos or anti-Marcos,” Coronel appealed to the demonstrators.
The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) has called on the public to join the Black Friday protest at Luneta, which is set to start at 4 p.m. Lily Ramos/PNA-northboundasia.com