On June 5, the Philippine National Police (PNP) released a warning on social media urging everyone not to attend mass protests to protect the public’s health.
“As responsible Filipino citizens, we should avoid any opportunity for possible human-to-human transmission of a deadly virus that even UP scientists themselves are trying so hard to irradicate,” reads PNP’s post. “Mass action compromises public health and welfare as well as the [protestors’] own safety.”
They continued by saying they support protestors’ freedom to hold rallies. In the same message, they reminded the public of their support of labor groups last May 1. They also called protests “an alternative means of freedom of expression.”
On the same day, seven Cebuano activists protesting against the Anti-Terrorism Bill were arrested for allegedly violating GCQ protocols. During the protest, the SWAT tactical team and UP Cebu guards dispersed protestors and searched them for quarantine passes.
Last June 2, six jeepney drivers were jailed for protesting against the jeepney ban. The Caloocan City Police “invited” these drivers to their station then to City Hall for the filing of charges. “Due to the fact that it was clear that they practiced social distancing, it is obvious that they were arrested for trumped-up charges,” says transport group Piston.
While PNP warns us about mass gatherings, policemen like NCRPO chief Debold Sinas hosted a mañanita last May 8. “[The photos showed] the Metro Manila police chief receiving roses, accepting gifts, blowing candles, and interacting with guests and policemen,” writes Inquirer. PNP chief Archie Gamboa defended Sinas, saying he didn’t hold a party after the photos of said party leaked online.
They concluded their message by saying: “In this time of public health crisis, the safety of human lives is paramount.” They also used the lengthy hashtag #PNPKakampiMoSaCOVID19.
Art by Bryan Sochayseng