Virus-wary Ilonggos find ways to mark ‘Freedom Day’

first_imgA recovery plan for the city is being crafted to enliven economic activities and give the people their much-needed jobs, he stressed. Mayor Treñas and Governor Defensor, on the other hand, urged Ilonggos to work together to achieve freedom against an unseen enemy, COVID-19. “The bill aims to give the executive branch of the government powers that undermine our fundamental right to free speech, right to peacefully assemble, the right to petition the government to redress of grievances, privacy of our communication, and right to due process,” according to the Movement Against Tyranny-Panay in a statement. “But we cannot just let the virus steal the bright future of Iloilo City. We cannot cower in fear forever. We have to overcome our fear and move forward,” said Treñas. “I advise those planning to hold rallies not to insist. We would strictly enforce the prohibition on any form of mass gathering during Independence Day,” said Dampal. “As we celebrate Independence Day, let us unite and fight as one in combatting this until the end. We will win against COVID-19,” said Defensor. ICPO director Police Colonel Eric Dampal cited the Department of Justice’s position that the holding of rallies are “temporarily banned” during quarantine to avoid direct transmission of the coronavirus disease 2019.  He assured Ilonggos that the provincial government is preparing a recovery plan which will prioritize agriculture, tourism and public transportation, among others. Protesters wear facemasks and observe physical distancing at the University of the Philippines Visayas – Iloilo City Campus. They mark Independence Day on June 12, 2020 by rallying against the Anti-Terrorism Bill. PHOTO BY BAYAN PANAY Prior to the rally, there was a public forum at the UPV City Campus Little Theater. The past two and a half months had been tough for the Ilonggos. The pandemic resulted in unemployment, closure of business establishments and loss of income. He reminded Ilonggos that the Philippines “gained independence because the people united and fought oppressors from other lands.” He also offered a wreath at the statue of Ilonggo Philippine Revolution hero General Martin Delgado at the plaza where, in 1898, the latter declared war against colonial Spain. On the other hand, Gov. Arthur Defensor Jr. led the provincial government of Iloilo in a subdued  flag-raising ceremony at the historic plaza of Santa Barbara town. The rally at UPV centered on the controversial Anti-Terrorism Bill. The city government of Iloilo livestreamed a muted Independence Day program in its official Facebook page in lieu of a grand celebration at Plaza Libertad. A video presentation of the national anthem that featured local government officials and frontliners was shown. The Movement Against Tyranny-Panay spearheaded progressive groups in a brief “Mañanita Kontra Terorismo” rally with participants observing physical distancing and wearing facemasks at the University of the Philippines Visayas (UPV) – Iloilo City Campus. ILOILO City – How did Ilonggos mark the 122nd Philippine Independence Day on June 12 amid the threat of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)? “We are frustrated that amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the House of Representatives and the Senate prioritized this repressive bill over the urgent needs of the people for additional financial support to those affected by the lockdown, acquiring more test kits and establishing more testing laboratories, upgrading hospital facilities, providing adequate support for our health workers, and facilitating the safe and systematic return of overseas workers and stranded individuals,” according to the movement. “Right now, we are fighting again. We are fighting for independence from an enemy we cannot see,” said Defensor. The bill authorizes the arrest of terrorism suspects without judicial order from the court, and their detention for a maximum of 24 days without charges. There were no arrests made yesterday related to the Independence Day celebration, especially in Iloilo City. A day before it, the Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) vowed to arrest and jail people holding rallies. Movement Against Tyranny-Panay also pointed out the bill’s vague definition of “terrorism” would be prone to abuses and would ultimately infringe on people’s democratic and civil liberties. Mayor Jerry Treñas also delivered his Independence Day message “virtually”. This year’s Independence Day celebration carried the theme “Kalayaan 2020: Towards a Free, United, and Safe Nation.”/PNlast_img

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