Anakbayan Slams “No-Rally Zone” at Times St.


Youth group Anakbayan denounced today the declaration of President Noynoy Aquino’s house in Times Street, Quezon City as a ‘no-rally zone’ come July 26, when he would deliver his first State of the Nation Address (SONA).

The declaration was made by the Quezon City Police District last July 21, which claimed that it was meant to “keep the peace in the neighborhood.” It said police teams will be deployed in various entry points to Times St. to block rallyists.

“This has got to be their lamest excuse yet. Records show that all rallies and pickets held in front of Noynoy’s house which were left alone by cops were peaceful. It is the presence of the cops who constitutes a threat to the peace of the neighborhood, as well as to the constitutional rights to freedom of speech and peaceful assembly of many Filipinos,” said Anakbayan national vice-chairperson Anton Dulce.

He said many sectors and groups including farmworkers from Hacienda Luisita which is owned by Aquino’s maternal family, have held protests which were peaceful from start to end.

“This is the latest in a series of acts by the Aquino government that indicates its insensitivity to millions of Filipinos with legitimate grievances, and showed its insecurity toward criticism by various groups and sectors,” Dulce said.

Among the acts cited by the youth leader was the violent dispersal last July 3 of farmers’ camp-out on Mendiola Bridge, which was pressing Aquino to push Congress to legislate a genuine agrarian reform law. Another act was Aquino’s snubbing of the several-thousand-strong march of students and other youths last July 16 to demand Aquino’s immediate action on this year’s tuition fee increases. The group also scored as ‘overkill’ and an ‘act of paranoia’ the planned deployment of 10,000 cops to secure Noynoy’s SONA.

“Aquino should realize that such actions by various sectors and groups highlight the problems left behind by his predecessor and now demanding immediate attention. He should not adopt Gloria Arroyo’s ‘out of sight, out of mind’ policy and use of the police and military to keep the nation’s real problems out of his mind,” Dulce said.

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.

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