DILG: Follow police operational procedures in handling protesters during ASEAN summit

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Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Officer-in-Charge Catalino S. Cuy assures that police and security forces will strictly adhere to police operational procedures in dealing with protesters who are expected to stage a series of rallies during the ASEAN summit.

Cuy, who also heads the ASEAN Committee on Security, Peace and Order, and Emergency Preparedness and Response (CSPOEPR), says he has given specific instructions to the Philippine National Police (PNP) and other authorities to respect the demonstrators’ right to peaceful assembly and exercise maximum tolerance.

“They (rallyists) have a right to air their grievances, and we respect that.  However, we in the government also have a duty to ensure that they will exercise their rights in a peaceful and orderly manner especially at this time when we are at the peak of hosting the ASEAN summit,” he says.

The CSPOEPR head issued the directive as militant groups led by the Alyansang Makabayan announced that they will be holding a series of rallies and demonstrations starting November 12 against US President Donald Trump.

He says protesters should hold their protest actions in freedom parks or other areas away from the summit venue so as not to disrupt summit activities or cause undue disturbance to traffic flow or to nearby communities.

He also appeals to rally organizers to police their own ranks and not to resort to violent acts in expressing their grievance.

On the other hand, Cuy urges police personnel who are in the frontlines of mass demonstrations to ‘protect themselves at all times’ as they face the rallyists.

“As you do your duty, make sure that you are always on guard for any untoward incident that might erupt during rallies,” he adds.

To ensure the protection, safety and welfare of the public and demonstrators, police authorities should initiate the conduct of dialogue with the leaders/organizers, secure and maintain order within the perimeter, and request for the permit from the leaders/organizers. —DILG-PACS