Mass protests remain prohibited even if such prohibition is not provided under laws enacted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, Jr. said Thursday.
Roque was responding to arguments raised by groups against the Anti-Terror Bill that protest actions are not prohibited by either the Bayanihan To Heal As One Act or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act.
“Simple lang po ang sagot. Mali po sila. May mga ordinansa po na nagpapataw ng parusa sa di nag-o-observe ng social distancing, pati sa curfew,” Roque said.
“Equally binding at enforceable ng mga pulis ang ordinansa kaya mali po sila diyan,” Roque added.
The Anti-Terror Bill has drawn sharp opposition across the sectors of activists, human rights workers, academe, journalists, business groups, among others, due to its provision allowing authorities to detain a person for 14 to 24 days without a warrant based on suspicion that such an individual is a terrorist.
The World Health Organization said on June 8 that protesters amid the COVID-19 pandemic must take precautions to protect themselves in light of the protests in the Europe and the United States condemning racism and police brutality in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd.
“We encourage all those protesting around the world to do so safely," WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said. — BM, GMA News