- Posted February 28, 2013 by
Sara's "no permit, no rally" policy gets support
By Ben O. Tesiorna
On Thursday, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte made public her desire to implement a "no permit, no rally" policy in the city after the violent incident in the Department of Social Welfare and Development where more than a thousand typhoon victims ransacked and looted the agency early this week.
Duterte was quoted as saying that her legal team is now drafting the guidelines for the new rule. Mayor Duterte said the city government is cooking up a new policy that “absolutely disallows” the conduct of rallies and protests without a permit.
From February 25-27, protesters barricaded Suazo Street, Davao City where the DSWD regional office is located. Several protesters, police and a journalist were injured after violent incidents broke up between the protesters and the police.
The protesters never got a permit from the local government despite the fact that Suazo Street is a public place.
The City Government of Davao under then mayor Rodrigo Duterte had been very lenient in allowing militant groups to hold their protest rallies anywhere in the city sans any permit in the past.
But due to this week's incident, the young mayor said that enough is enough.
“I have always been vocal about my stand against them. They cannot lump me and Vice Mayor Rody together. We are different personalities. I will not tolerate nor practice diplomacy when utter disrespect is being committed,” Duterte said earlier.
Several local officials meanwhile supported Mayor Duterte's decision saying that such a policy should have long been implemented.
"That should be the appropriate action. We are studying also of passing an ordinance on no permit, no rally policy," said Compostela Valley Governor Arturo Uy.
"I think the Davao City government is merely channeling and giving order to how our people will express themselves through a "permit-to-rally" policy. We have every faith that the Davao City leadership will continue to uphold the safety and protection of its residents, and in so doing, will balance our people's right of expression. We would also like to point out that even as there is a balance to be struck between the interest of order and the safety of the general public, and that of our citizens who wish to demonstrate, there are also other avenues by which expression can be freely made. For freedom parks, demonstrators can hold and make their statements without need of a permit or intervention from the city government," said Compostela Valley Rep. Maricar Zamora.
"I totally agree with the city's stand/policy. The problem stems from the inability or inefficiency of the agencies to distribute the goods. It's not the people of Davao City suffering but the people of the two provinces. Why bring the problem to the city," Mati City Mayor Michelle Rabat said.
“We cannot be too lenient from now on.That would prevent a repeat of DSWD stand-off occurrences in the future," Davao City Police Office director Sr. Supt. Ronald dela Rosa said.
"For a very long time, Davao City LGU has been lenient in dealing with these militant groups. Inabuso tuloy. No permit, No rally? Noon pa dapat!,"
Col. Leopoldo Galon of the Eastern Mindanao Command said.
"As a private citizen mayor Sara is correct. We still have freedom park? That's where permit is not needed. This is to preserve peace and order. Right?," former House Speaker Prospero Nograles said.
Militant leaders meanwhile expressed their dissent on Duterte's new policy.
“Let the people march and speak out. We are not in Martial Law, are we?We should also remind Sara Duterte that Davao is one of the significant cities that fought hard against the fascist dictatorship and for the restoration of democracy. This no permit, no rally is a step backward to our democratic gains after Martial Law period,” said Juland Suazo of Panalipdan-Southern Mindanao.
"Right to assembly and freedom of speech–these are what she wants to suppress. Let us remind our local chief executive that no law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, or expression… or the right of people to peaceably assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances,” said Glades Maglungsod, of the group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan).
The Philippine Constitution protects the right of the people to peaceably assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances, but the law also mandates for the issuance of permit from the government before conducting any public assembly.
Batas Pambansa Bilang 880, or the Public Assembly Act of 1985, Section 4 states that "a written permit shall be required for any person or persons to organize and hold a public assembly in a public place."
Only those "done or made in a freedom park duly established by law or ordinance or in private property, in which case only the consent of the owner or the one entitled to its legal possession is required, or in the campus of a government-owned and operated educational institution which shall be subject to the rules and regulations of said educational institution are exempted from getting a permit. BOT