MANILA, Philippines – It's official.
The Office of the Executive Secretary released on Wednesday, September 20, a memorandum circular suspending classes and work in government offices on September 21.
According to Memorandum Circular No 26, the suspension has nationwide coverage. Classes at all levels in all public schools are also suspended.
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Malacañang leaves it to the "sound discretion" of heads of private companies and schools to decide whether they too will call off work and classes.
The Office of the Executive Secretary, as quoted by Abella's office, said the memorandum circular covers only the executive branch, including local government units.
"The other branches of government where the executive branch has no jurisdiction is not covered by the MC," said the statement on Wednesday.
Government employees assigned to report to work on September 21 will be remunerated through compensatory time-off for hours of work rendered, based on Civil Service Commission rules and regulations, he added.
In Proclamation No 319, also released on Wednesday, President Rodrigo Duterte declared September 21 as a "national day of protest." This is to be "in solidarity with the people's call against all excesses and shortcomings of the government," reads the document.
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Big rallies protesting policies of the Duterte administration are expected to be held on this day, the 45th anniversary of the declaration of martial law.
Agencies under the executive branch that deal with basic and vital services or those involved in managing disasters and emergencies are ordered to be on standby.
These include the Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, and the Bureau of Fire Protection.
Police and military are instructed to stay in their barracks. Those assigned to ensure peace and order during the rallies should exercise maximum tolerance when dealing with protesters, Malacañang said. – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.