Duterte supporters prepare for Sept. 21 protest

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—Supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte here said they will hold their own protest to mark the 45th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law on September 21.

President Duterte declared Sept. 21 as “National Day of Protest” nationwide, suspending classes in public schools and work in government offices. Private schools and instutions, however, are free to decide whether to suspend classes and work during that day.

Cedrick Sabio, local chapter head of the newly-created PRRD Coalition, said Tuesday his group will march on the streets to counter anti-administration groups that are also expected to stage protest Wednesday.

Sabio said they expect hundreds of thousands of their members all over Northern Mindanao to attend the protest.

PRRD Coalition, according to Sabio, is a conglomeration of 16 organizations that supported Duterte’s presidential campaign. He said supporters and volunteers decided to band together to counter the “anti-Duterte propaganda” by some groups opposed to the President’s “policies and how he executes them.”

On Tuesday, core members of the group met in the city with Political Affairs Secretary Francis Tolentino, who administered the induction of the group’s officers. Also present was Energy Undersecretary Ben Ranque, who spoke to the group about the importance of federalism.

“Federalism is the solution to the poverty in the country. We manage our own money at the local level, not the ones in Manila,” Ranque said.

For his part, Tolentino expressed gratitude to the people who voted him as a senatorial candidate in the 2016 elections. Tolentino won in the city, but lost at the national level.

Last week, groups opposed to the Duterte administration announced widespread protests to commemorate the 45th anniversary of the declaration of a nationwide martial law by then President Ferdinand Marcos in 1972. Mark Francisco/PNA-northboundasia.com