Cebu rally fails to stir public interest
Cebu City (29 February) -- The over 200 rallyists from various militant organizations currently gathering at the Fuente Osmeņa Rotunda in support of the planned nationwide protest actions today against the Arroyo Administration did not stir much public interest.
Traffic at the Fuente Osmeņa Circle which is located in the heart of Cebu City is at its regular pace as police earlier warned that in case the street protest would trigger traffic jam causing public inconvenience, then they would have no choice but to disband the rally.
Carrying placards demanding for the resignation of President Gloria M. Arroyo, the street demonstrators assembled at 2:00 p.m. and are expected to disperse at 7:00 p.m. tonight. One placard even had words written "Noli Resign."
Militant groups that participated in the rally include Bayan Muna, Anak Pawis, Bayan, Laban ng Demokritong Pilipino, transport groups like Piston and Nadsu as well as some students.
Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) deputy Director for Operations P/Supt. Paul Labra earlier appealed to rallyists not to bring their kids along during the rally. "Children should not be used as a shield during rallies," according to Labra.
Labra warned parents joining the rally who is tagging their children along would be asked to leave the crowd as police only wants to protect the safety of the children in case clashes would occur.
Lapulapu City Police Office Chief P/Supt. Louie Oppus likewise said parents who used their children as shield during rallies must be charged as this is strictly prohibited under the Children-Women Protection Law. "What is the use of the law if we do not use it," Oppus quipped.
Police Regional Office (PRO-7) Chief Gen. Ronald Roderos however, said that street demonstrations in Cebu have always been peaceful as he expected the rally today as no different from all the previous rallies.
PRO-7 Chief of the Regional Intelligence Division S/Supt. Augusto Marquez on the other hand, admitted that he received reports that the rally today would be infiltrated by some quarters of the Communist Party of the Philippines but this information still has to be verified.
Roderos recently bared the 6,000 police personnel in Central Visayas remain loyal to the chain of command as he issued a stern warning to policemen not to participate in anti-government rallies or else face corresponding penalty.
Cebu's business sector meanwhile, does not share the same sentiment of the Makati Business Club calling for President Arroyo's resignation and instead said it will focus more on improving the local business climate.
Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal has asked the people to remain calm and instead pray for the truth to come out as he appealed to the public to wait for the results of the investigations of the Senate, Ombudsman's Office and the Department of Justice regarding the aborted NBN deal. (PIA-Cebu/FCR) [top]