Youth group slams Times St. ‘no-rally zone’, calls it act of an ‘insensitive administration’
Youth group Anakbayan denounced today the declaration of President Noynoy Aquino’s house in Times Street, Quezon City as a ‘no-rally zone’ on July 26, the day of his first-ever State of the Nation Address.
The declaration was made by the Quezon City Police District last July 21, where the QCPD claimed that it was to “keep the peace in the neighborhood”. It announced that police teams will be deployed in various entry points along Times St. to prevent rallyists from entering.
“This has got to be their lamest excuse yet. The records will show that all rallies and pickets held in front of Noynoy’s house which were left alone by cops remained peaceful. It is their presence who constitutes a threat to the peace of the neighborhood, as well as the constitutional rights of freedom of speech and peaceful assembly of many Filipinos” said Anakbayan national vice-chairperson Anton Dulce.
He said that many sectors and groups, including farmworkers from the Hacienda Luisita, of which Aquino owns a stake in, held protests which were peaceful from start to beginning.
“This is the latest in a series of acts by the government which indicates its insensitivity to millions of Filipinos with legitimate grievances, and insecurity towards criticism by various groups and sectors” he said.
Among the incidents cited by the youth leader was a violent dispersal last July 3 of farmers who camped out along Mendiola Bridge to press Aquino into pushing Congress to draft a genuine agrarian reform law. Another incident was Aquino’s snubbing of a several-thousand-strong march of students and other youths last July 16 to demand Aquino’s immediate action on this year’s series of tuition fee increases. The group also mentioned the planned deployment of 10,000 cops to secure Noynoy’s SONA as ‘overkill’ and an ‘act of paranoia’.
Dulce said “Aquino should realize that such actions by various sectors and groups indicate that the various problems created by his predecessor persist until this very day and demand his immediate attention. He should not adopt Gloria Arroyo’s ‘out of sight, out of mind’ policy and use the police and military to keep the nation’s real problems out of his mind”.
He challenged Aquino to face Anakbayan and other cause-oriented youth groups if he is ‘truly sincere in reaching out to the youth’.
The group has previously called for the following:
– An immediate tuition freeze order effective nationwide
– Re-allocation of emergency funds to the education sector
– The allocation of an amount equivalent to 6% of the Phil. GDP to the education budget
– Total scrapping of the Value Added Tax
– Prioritization of the P125 wage increase and Genuine Agrarian Reform bills once re-filed in Congress