MANILA - The government does not intend to declare July 28 a non-working day for state employees even if President Aquino’s fifth State of the Nation Address falls on this day, Malacañang said yesterday.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said over dzRB that Filipinos could not expect a long holiday because of the SONA, which falls on a Monday, and which would be followed by a regular holiday in observance of Eid’l Fitr, the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
Aquino earlier signed Proclamation No. 826 pursuant to Republic Act No. 9177, declaring Eid’l Fitr a regular holiday throughout the country.
Valte said a lot of people were asking if a long weekend would be declared. But “normally, we don’t declare SONA (day a holiday). It’s the local government that issues a declaration for (suspension of classes in) schools around the Batasan (Pambansa in Quezon City)...So let’s just wait for the announcement.”
Rules on street protest
Meanwhile, Chief Superintendent Richard Albano, director of the Quezon City Police District, appealed to leaders of groups planning to take to the streets on July 28 to be responsible for the actions of their members.
Albano made the appeal before the scheduled dialogue with militant groups this coming week to discuss ground rules on the street protests on the day of the SONA.
“I hope they are man enough and gentleman enough to follow what is agreed upon during our dialogue,” Albano told The STAR.
“I hope they (leaders of protesters) are held for the actions of their members. You don’t go to the talking table and do something else on the day of the protest,” he added.
Albano was referring to the practice of a number of militant groups of going beyond the area assigned to them as they hold street protests on the day of the SONA.
Albano cited protesters’ practice of crossing to the side of Commonwealth Avenue bound for Quezon Memorial Circle even if the assigned area for their protests is on the opposite lane.
The portion of Commonwealth Avenue fronting Ever Gotesco Mall, on the lane bound for Fairview, is the area designated for street protests. This side of Commonwealth Avenue is closed off to accommodate protesters.
Albano noted that tension or even trouble would ensue whenever protesters crossed to the other side and were blocked by policemen.
He also said that some protesters even destroy government properties whenever encounters happen, and even police cars were not spared in such incidents in the past. – With Reinir Padua