Due to the lack of permit, Kabataan Party List (KPL) protesters were shortly interrupted from their rally in front of the Department of Education (DepEd) Region 11 office, along Elpidio Quirino Ave., Davao City last August 6.
The said protesters formed an assembly at the entrance of the office at 3:30 pm in an attempt to convince DepEd to lift the ongoing suspension of the 55 Lumad schools in Southern Mindanao.
According to the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the identified schools are allegedly known to be breeding grounds of armed rebellions.
Only a few minutes passed when policemen assigned in the vicinity of the office arrived at the scene and expressed their concern to the rallyists that their choice of location for their demonstration is not within the bounds of law.
Police Staff Sergeant Johndil Jorolan said that these people were already oriented to conduct their assemblies at the Freedom Park in Roxas Boulevard and that what they are doing is not in accordance with the curriculum.
“Gimeeting na sila na once na mag ana-ana [rallying] ka, didto ka sa Freedom Park. Walay ingun ani nga mahitabo na diri. Ang ilang giisturya, giallow ilang kuan [rally]. Wala man sila nagfollow sa curriculum (These people were already briefed to conduct their rallies in the Freedom Park. Nothing of that sort must happen here. They claim that they have been allowed to do their rally. But, they did not follow the curriculum.),” he said.
Jorolan also added that for the meantime their course of action is to tolerate these people unless violence is already involved. They will only be sending reports to the administration and wait for their decision to ‘disperse’ them.
“Diri na lang mi maghulat, badlungon lang namo sila kung naa silay mahimo na samok… Mintras wala pay order sa taas nga i-disperse sila (We will wait here and will reprimand them if they start creating nuisances… While waiting for orders from the administration to ‘disperse’ them),” Jorolan said, emphasizing that protesters have tendencies to cause violence while rallying.
In response, Jayvie Cabajes, Vice-President for Mindanao of KPL, conveyed that they are being restricted of their freedom of expression and that at some point it has become ‘very oppressive.’
“They are restricting the freedom of expression ng kabataan… Kung sasabihin lang nila na ‘Oo, magpe-permit; Oo, magpupunta pa dun sa Freedom Park,’ [then] that’s very oppressive at some point (They are restricting the freedom of the youth… If they say that ‘Yes, you need a permit; Yes, you have to go to the Freedom Park,’ then that’s very oppressive at some point),” he said.
“Kaya ito mismo is one of the many few na pang-atake ng pamahalaan sa mga kabataan sa mga nakikibaka na sambayanang Pilipino (this itself is one of the many few attacks of the government to the youth who are fighting in the Filipino society),” he added.
This has been their second attempt after making an assembly during the flag ceremony of DepEd employees on Monday, insisting that they will not rest until the ban is lifted and the attacks on Lumad education are stopped.
“This is not the last. Hanggang ‘di pa nabibigay yung permit ng Lumad schools, hanggang andun pa yung pag-atake sa Lumad education… hindi titigil ang Kabataan sa pagkilos para mapakita sa ahensiya (DepEd) ang tunay na kalagayan ng bansa. (This is not the last. Until the permit for Lumad schools have not been given, until the attacks on Lumad education are still happening… Kabataan will not stop in the movement to show the agency (DepEd) the true situation of our country,” Cabajes stated.