Days before SONA, Quezon City bars protests

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 24 2020 04:50 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 - Protests will no longer be allowed in Quezon City, its local government said Friday, days before President Rodrigo Duterte's penultimate State of the Nation Address at the Batasang Pambansa.

In an unprecedented move against all mass actions, the city government issued the order, citing as basis the prohibition on mass gatherings due to the coronavirus threat.

"...[T]he Quezon City Government, thru the City Legal Department, would like to inform the public that all applications for permits to organize or hold public assemblies shall not be processed," it said in a Facebook post.

Permits that were already issued, meanwhile, were revoked, it added.

The statement comes just days after Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte said the city would still allow a limited number of protests for the President's SONA, an annual address during which several groups traditionally hold mass actions near the legislature.

She had even said that 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.

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

Several groups had announced plans to hold demonstrations in Quezon City and online.

The Palace has confirmed that President Duterte will physically deliver his address at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City despite the threat of COVID-19.