Manila gov’t’s ‘no permit, no rally’ on EDSA People Power anniversary draws flak

February 23, 2024 - 4:44 PM
Manila City Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna filed on Wednesday, October 6, her certificate of candidacy (COCs) for Mayor of the nation's capital in the upcoming 2022 elections. (Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna team)

Manila Mayor Honey Lacuna-Pangan said that the city government would implement a “no permit, no rally” policy effective February 25, the anniversary of EDSA People Power Revolution.

Despite the order, Lacuna said that rallies can be staged in areas that does not need permits.

“Ang atin pong people’s park ang freedom park po natin ay laging bukas, kapag wala talaga kayong na-secure na permit, hindi talaga kayong maaari doon sa kung saan niyo gusto lugar,” the mayor was quoted as saying in a report.

The policy did not sit well with some Filipinos who were concerned about the freedom of expression and dissent.

“Imagine having to ask permission to the air your grievances against government failures,” one Filipino said on X (Formerly Twitter).

“Rallying is an essential form of dissent against the government. It is a constitutional right, and ‘no permit, no rally’ policies make it useless,” wrote an X user.

“Ano bang gusto ng gobyerno? ‘Pwede po ba kami mag-rally laban sa inyo?’” he added.

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) president Renato Reyes shared the same sentiment, warning against power abuse.

“Dapat mabatid ng pamahalaang lungsod ng Maynila na walang maaaring arestuhin o marahas na i-disperse dahil lamang sa paglahok sa isang peaceful protest KAHIT WALANG PERMIT,” he said.

“Ang ‘no permit, no rally’ policy ay inaabuso at ginagamit na katwiran para sa marahas na dispersal,” he added.

A “no permit, no rally” policy is constitutional under the Batasang Pambansa 880 or Public Assembly Act of 1985, which was enacted during martial law period under former president Ferdinand Marcos Sr.

This provision was historically used to curtail democratic movements.

B.P. 880 was also enforced in Manila in May 2022 by then-Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso following protests outside the Commission on Elections in Intramuros questioning the integrity of the 2022 presidential elections.