MANILA, Philippines – “No permit, no rally.”
This is part of the guidlines set by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) in assuring peace and order during the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders’ summit this November.
The “no permit, no rally” rule applies to everyone “who would like to hold public assemblies in public places during the week-long leaders summit,” the DILG stressed.
“Although our laws ensure the free exercise of the people’s right to peaceably assemble and petition the government, we would like to reiterate that we have to observe proper guidelines including seeking permits to conduct public rallies,” DILG Secretary Mel Senen Sarmiento in a press statement.
After 19 years, the Philippines plays host again to APEC, the world’s largest regional economic group.
Leaders, businessmen, and industry experts from the group’s 21 member-economies will gather in Manila to discuss matters of sustainable economic growth.
The APEC’s main goals are to tackle the “promotion of cooperation among states, liberalization of trade, and creation of opportunities for investments in the Asia-Pacific community.”
Sarmiento’s directive to Metro Manila mayors state that mayors or officials acting in the latter’s behalf may grant the application and issue the corresponding permit to rally.
Applications, however, may be rejected if there is “clear and convincing evidence that the public assembly will create a clear and present danger to public order, safety and convenience and subject to proper procedures in accordance to Batas Pambansa (BP) 880.”
BP 880 or the Public Assembly Act of 1985 ensures the right of the public to peaceably assemble and petition the government.
A written permit is no longer required if the public assembly will be done in a freedom park established by law or ordinance or in a private property, according to Sarmiento. In such cases only the consent of the property owner is needed.
Permits are not needed either if the assembly will be held in government-owned and operated education institution, subject to the school’s rules and regulations.
Metro Manila Mayors, according to Sarmiento, should help in maintaing peace and order by “observing the proper guidelines to ensure the safety of those who will join the rallies.”
Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) and law enforcement agencies are in charge of securing APEC leaders.
Sarmiento also directed the PNP to “strictly observe maximum tolerance policy and respect the human rights of people during a public assembly even during dispersal.” – Rappler.com