Malacanan on Wednesday issued Proclamation No. 319 declaring September 21 as a National Day of Protest.
The Proclamation, signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on September 19, 2017, was made “in solidarity with the people’s call against all excesses and shortcomings of the government, and with the people’s desire to uphold the highest standards of integrity, efficiency, and accountability in government.”
It was corollary to Executive Order No. 292 (s. 1987) which stated that the President may declare a status or condition of public moment or interest by way of proclamation.
Further, the Proclamation acknowledged the people’s freedom of speech and right to peacefully assemble. Hence, it urged local government units (LGUs) to forgo rally permits during the National Day of Protest.
On the other hand, protesters were reminded to maintain their rallies peaceful, act within the bounds of law, and be vigilant of possible infiltrators, while the police and other law enforcement authorities were ordered to observe maximum restraint.
Meanwhile, in the Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 26 released on the same day, the Palace suspended work in government offices and classes in public schools on Thursday in view of the observance of the National Day of Protest.
As per the Office of the Executive Secretary, MC No. 26 will only cover the executive branch of government, including LGUs, and public schools at all levels, including state and LGU universities and colleges and technical and vocational schools.
However, government agencies whose functions involve the delivery of basic and health services, preparedness and response to disasters and calamities, or performance of other vital services (e.g., the Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Bureau of Fire Protection, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, etc.) were ordered to provide stand-by emergency assistance near protest sites.
In the case of the public sector, “the suspension of work in private companies and classes in private schools in the affected areas is left to the sound discretion of their respective heads,” the MC stated. | PCOO