Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista on Tuesday issued a rally permit to the organizers of the Edsa Tayo prayer vigil against the pork barrel system which unfolds today at the Edsa Shrine on Epifanio de los Santos Avenue.
QC Department of Public Order and Safety chief Elmo San Diego issued the permit to organizers Tomas Leonor and Ian Pedarse and provided that participants should only occupy the Our Lady of Edsa Shrine compound and not Ortigas Avenue or Epifanio de los Santos Avenueso.
“Quezon City government allowed Eda Tayo organizers to conduct their activity within and around the vicinity of Edsa Shrine. The QC-DPOS, Quezon City Police District and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority have instituted security and traffic plans for the orderly conduct of the 11
September 2013 activity,” Bautista told the Manila Standard in a text message.
Bautista also urged organizers and participants to police their ranks and warned that organizers will be held liable for any damage on property or people as a result of the assembly. The rally permit effective 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. bans any streamers or banners on display during the event.
“As far as we are concerned, we will not bring such materials,” said another organizer Junep Ocampo. “However, we cannot give the city government an assurance if others may take posters, placards, streamers or banners with them. That would be beyond our control.”
“The Edsa Shrine is a private place, and is owned by the Archdiocese of Manila. In fact, the archdiocese has allowed us to hold an interfaith rally in the area,” Ocampo said, adding that they cannot legally stop passers-by from bringing posters, streamers, tarpaulins or banners.
Ocampo said that while their constituional rights allow them to hold their prayer vigil on any private property without the need for a city permit, participants should observe proper decorum during the event.
“I am discouraging participants to violate the provisions in the rally permits of Quezon City since we are only here to hear mass and pray,” he said, noting that the mass will be celebrated by Edsa Shrine parish priest Nilo Mangussad.
He said the mass will start at 12 noon and will be followed by lectures on the pork barrel system by former socioeconomic planning secretary Solita Monsod and former national treasurer Leonor Briones.
From 2 p.m., there will be an inter-faith fellowship that will be highlighted by the lighting of the shrine’s Freedom Flame and a vigil candle, whose flame will be distributed to other churches in the country. The program was designed to end at 4 p.m. to lessen traffic congestion.
Meanwhile, the National Capital Region Police Office asked participants not to bring backpacks while the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority said rallyists should strictly observe order and police their ranks during their protest rally.
“We recognize their rights to express fully their sentiments. But I am appealing to their social and civic responsibility in maintaining order and discipline among their ranks, considering it is a working day, and most of the schools nearby will have their exams,” said MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino.
Tolentino met with various member-government agencies of Task Force on Transport and Mass Action (Trasma) to discuss the rally and it was agreed that rallyists should comply with traffic regulations, respect authorities, maintain cleanliness, observe conditions of the rally permits issued by the local governments of Quezon City and Mandaluyong City, respect the rights of commuters and motorists.
“The protesters should also ensure that the roads will remain passable for ambulances going to Cardinal Santos Hospital, Medical City, and other Quezon City hospitals,” the MMDA chief said, adding that the number-coding scheme will stay in force during the rally.
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