Karapatan: Right to peaceably protest for SONA a basic right even amid pandemic

The people's right to peaceably assemble and protest is a basic human right guaranteed by our Constitution: no law or policy can abridge or prohibit it — and this right remains in effect even amid the pandemic. In fact, it is President Rodrigo Duterte’s criminal negligence of people’s welfare and his fascist attacks that are forcing the people to not only exercise but assert the right to protest, including for his last State of the Nation Address.

We would like to reiterate that the World Health Organization believes protests are important even in a pandemic as long as they do so safely, and the government’s shameless double standard in using the pandemic as a pretext to crack down on protests, even if they have observed basic health protocols — while allowing their allies and stooges to brazenly violate quarantine restrictions for their anti-people agenda — has been well-documented.

This ploy to “deny” us a “permit” to hold protests is clearly nothing more than an attempt to stifle the growing number and voices of dissent and resistance against Duterte's abject failures and bloody crimes against the people. We will march on Monday complying with health protocols, more determined than ever to expose the true state of the nation and to ring the call to end Duterte’s tyrannical rule.

Cristina Palabay
Karapatan Secretary General