CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY: Iligan City Mayor Celso Regencia on Tuesday ordered the military and police to prevent about 1,000 protesters from Cagayan De Oro City to hold an indignation rally against martial law citing security threats.
Regencia ordered the deployment of two Armored Personnel Carriers (APC), a military fighting vehicle, in the border of Iligan City in Lanao Del Norte and Lugai-it, Misamis Oriental to prevent the convoy of protesters from entering Iligan.
Jo Pantoja, Iligan City Hall spokesman, told The Manila Times that the mayor ordered the military and the police to prohibit the protesters from entering the city to conduct the anti-martial law march and rally for security reasons.
He said Regencia is not out to stop them from expressing their anti-martial law sentiments but to avoid a possible breach of the peaceful atmosphere in Iligan City.
“There are about 193,000 internally displaced persons who have evacuated to Iligan City since the Marawi siege two months ago. The security threat in the city remains high,” Regencia said.
Pantoja also denied the claim of a Bayan Muna official that the protesters in Iligan City Plaza were arrested on Monday.
He said the leaders of about 30 students who were holding a protest rally were only invited for questioning after the date of the rally permit was reportedly tampered.
The protesters were originally allowed to hold the protest rally on July 20, but they changed the date to July 24, Pantoja pointed out.
However, he added, the students were allowed to hold the rally but they ultimately dispersed when people started milling around the Iligan City Plaza to watch and listen to the SONA of President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday afternoon.
Jomorito Guaynon, leader of Kalumbay, a tribal organization in Bukidnon, said the protesters, instead, held the indignation rally near the military and police checkpoint in the border of Iligan City and Luga-it on Tuesday morning.
“The convoy of multi-sectoral protesters comprised of the youth, out-of-school-youth, farmers, labor groups, religious and human rights lawyers decided to disperse and go home to Cagayan De Oro City,” Goaynon said.
He added that the convoy of protesters left Cagayan De Oro City on Monday morning to hold a “People’s State of the Nation Address” in Iligan City. They stayed overnight midway in the municipality of Laguindingan, Misamis Oriental because of the military and police checkpoints.
Goaynon said the protesters were not harassed or threatened by the military and police manning the checkpoints.
“Checking and verification of the participants’ identification made it difficult for the protesters to reach Iligan City as scheduled. Worse, the convoy was not allowed to enter Iligan City Tuesday morning,” he said.