MANILA - Those who plan to stage rallies on Sunday to commemorate the EDSA People Power anniversary are welcome to do so, Malacañang said Thursday.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque says the Palace respects individuals’ right to freedom of expression and peaceably assemble.
“Hindi po yan sinusupil. So we welcome any and all protest that day,” Roque said.
When asked about the government’s plans to celebrate the People power anniversary, Roque said, “It’s celebrated. It is a public holiday.”
President Rodrigo Duterte will retreat to his home province on Sunday with instructions to bar no one, including his critics, from joining this year’s EDSA People Power activities, an organizer said Wednesday.
Former President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III was among previous chief executives invited, while groups identified with him will be allowed to stage a rally at the People Power Monument on Feb. 25, said Pastor "Boy" Saycon, a member of the EDSA People Power Commission.
Duterte has been critical of the so-called “yellows,” figures identified with the previous administration and whom he earlier claimed were plotting to destabilize his administration.
It also emerged as the political color of the peaceful revolt that ousted the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos and installed President Corazon Aquino in 1986.
Tindig Pilipinas, a coalition of opposition figures criticizing Duterte’s war on drugs and charter change, will hold a protest action on the occasion of the EDSA Revolution’s 32nd anniversary.
Saycon said the group could set up a stage at the venue but was requested only to hold the program after the mass and EDSA rites on Sunday.
Vice President Leni Robredo will join the flag-raising ceremony, he said.
After the program, the crowd will disperse to give way to those planning to hold a rally at the People Power Monument, Saycon said.