Supporters and critics of President Duterte merged at Mendiola in Manila on Bonifacio Day as the opposing groups chanted their respective issues for and against the President’s policies.
Human rights, labor and other cause-oriented groups that marched from Welcome Rotonda in Quezon City criticized Duterte for reneging on his promise to end the unfair practice of contractualization.
Other progressive groups also lambasted the President for allowing the burial of former President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB).
They slammed him for showing his authoritarian leanings by befriending the Marcos family.
Anti-riot policemen prevented Duterte’s critics from reaching the Mendiola Peace Arch where the President’s supporters were holding a program.
The protesters assembled instead along Legarda and Recto Avenues.
Former Laguna Governor Emilio Ramon “ER’’ Ejercito showed up in the rally and vowed his support to Duterte.
Policemen line up as more anti-Marcos groups were heading towards Mendiola.
Traffic in the area was virtually at a standstill as the crowd of pro and anti-administration groups start to arrive in droves.
Meanwhile, the government vowed to implement a maximum tolerance policy towards groups involved in street protests against the controversial burial of Marcos at the heroes’ cemetery.
Presidential Communications Assistant Secretary Kristian Ablan said the Palace respects the right of these groups to voice their sentiments on Bonifacio Day.
“We respect the right to assemble and freedom of speech of all citizens and so Malacañang respects the protest actions being organized today, Bonifacio Day and of course as instructed to authorities to exercise maximum tolerance,” Ablan said during a Palace news conference. (with a report from Genalyn Kabiling) (CHITO CHAVEZ)