Quezon City to limit SONA protests due to COVID-19 threat

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 21 2020 12:14 PM

Protesters hold a rally in UP Diliman on July 4, 2020 as they condemn the recently signed Anti-Terror Law. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA-- Quezon City will allow a limited number of protests during President Rodrigo Duterte's penultimate State of the Nation Address next week, Mayor Joy Belmonte said Tuesday.

Demonstrators who wish to join protests on Monday, July 27, have to coordinate with the Quezon City local government and the police as provided under The Public Assembly Act of 1985, Belmote said.

"We will allow, to a limited extent, demonstrators and protesters just because this has been a tradition for a very long time here in our city," the mayor said in a virtual press briefing.

Groups such as BAYAN, Akbayan, Partido Manggagawa, Kilusang Mayo Uno, and Laban ng Masa earlier said they would hold demonstrations in Quezon City as well as online due to the COVID-19 threat.

Belmonte, who just recovered from COVID-19, said the local government unit would require protesters to comply with the minimum health standards such as the mandatory wearing of face masks and the practice of physical distancing.

"We will be very strict in ensuring that all of these protesters, demonstrators, these ralliers will be complying with minimum health standards. Otherwise, we have the right of course to remind them, or disperse them peacefully if nakikita natin na nagiging public health hazard na sila," she said.

Yearly, the SONA is known to attract several protests from critics of the administration.

Malacañang on Monday confirmed that President Rodrigo Duterte will physically deliver his address at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City despite the threat of COVID-19.