Youth activists rip Chinese POGOs, anti-terror bill in Independence Day 'mañanita'

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 12 2020 11:51 AM | Updated as of Jun 12 2020 07:34 PM

MANILA — Youth activists on Independence Day condemned an anti-terror bill and the proliferation of Chinese-run gambling hubs through a "mañanita," patterned after a police official's recent birthday party that allegedly breached quarantine protocols. 

Members of the Akbayan Youth and Youth Resist, wearing anti-virus masks and observing physical distancing, played 3 traditional Filipino parlor games during their mañanita. 

They slammed a clay pot with an illustration of President Rodrigo Duterte’s face in the game "Pukpok Pasistang Palayok." 

At another game, the "Chinese Terror Garter," they jumped over elastic bands carrying placards with acronym POGO for Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator, to show how Chinese businesses allegedly disregard Philippine laws.

The group also played “Tumbang Press,” to show how the government could allegedly suppress freedom to dissent through the anti-terror bill pushed by Duterte. 

“This is our way of expressing dissent. Very selective ang government kapag PNP ang nagpa-mañanita okay lang pero kapag taong bayan ikinukulong. Itong games paraan natin para sabihin na si Duterte eh pinaglalaruan ang mga mamamayan,” RJ Naguit, Akbayan Youth Chairperson told ABS-CBN News. 

(The government is very selective. If the PNP holds a mañanita, it's okay, but if ordinary citizens do so, they will be jailed. The games represent how Duterte is playing with the public.) 

Metro Manila police chief Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas and several of his high-ranking colleagues faced administrative charges last month over a dawn party despite a ban on mass gatherings. 
 
Duterte refused to remove Sinas from his post. 

Earlier this month, the President certified as urgent an anti-terror bill that would let the government wiretap suspects, arrest them without warrants and hold them without charge for 14 days, among others provisions. 

"Kailangan ibalik ang conversation to realize the real issues. Sa kahit anong polisiya it is important to know sino ine-empower at pinoprotektahan... Mayroon daw safeguards pero we need to understand the context," Naguit said of the measure. 

(We need to bring back the conversation to realize the real issues. In any policy, it is important to know who is empowered and protected. They say the bill has safeguards, but we need to understand the context.) 

The national police earlier urged critics of the bill to move their protests online to observe social distancing requirements during the coronavirus pandemic. 

- Report from Kevin Manalo, ABS-CBN News