Anti-U.S. activists clashed with riot police near the U.S. Embassy in Manila on Philippine-American Friendship Day, July 4. Protesters from the League of Filipino Students (LFS) and other groups called for the junking of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) which paves the way for expanded military cooperation between the U.S. and the Philippines. Protesters also called for the abolition of the pork barrel system.
As anxiety intensified, a policewoman eased the tension and flaring tempers with her cool demeanor and easy smile. Police Officer 1 (P01) Aurea Jane Manalaysay has earned a reputation as some sort of "celebrity cop" in the Manila Police District for being a head-turner among photojournalists.
Asked why she became a "darling of the press" Manalaysay quipped, "Well, because I'm the only girl here." She has been a riot policewoman for two years now. She is assigned to the Philippine National Police's (PNP) District Police Safety Batallion (DPSB) which handles crowd dispersals.
On being a woman assigned to this task, Manalaysay has this to say: “If the boys can do it, then so can I.”
When asked how she handles violent protests Manalaysay said, "I can handle it because of our training. Even before we pass our courses, we are already drilled on issues like maximum tolerance."
As the riot ended, Manalaysay packed up her riot baton and struck a pose for photojournalists. "It’s my way of trying to shake off the stress because if not you’ll be a hot head. You have to remember to keep cool," she said before flashing her winning smile.