Manila – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered suspension of government work and classes in school on Thursday, Sept. 21, which he calls a “national day of protest,” spokesman for the president Ernesto Abella said on Tuesday.
Sept. 21 this year marks the 45th anniversary of the declaration of martial law in 1972 by former President Ferdinand Marcos, who ruled the country for two decades from 1965 to 1986.
Abella told a news conference at the Malacanang presidential palace that large rallies and protests are expected on Thursday as several local groups had already announced their activities.
“The acting executive secretary will issue a memorandum circular suspending work in government offices, both national and local, as well as classes in all public schools, state colleges and universities.
“Private companies and schools can decide on their own whether or not to suspend work or classes too, he added, clarifying that Sept. 21 is not a special non-working holiday,’’ Abella said.
At a TV interview, Duterte has said the “national day of protest” seeks to give people space for peaceful assembly and voicing grievances.
Duterte said he is also protesting on Sept. 21 to show his opposition and disgust over corruption especially those committed by the “yellow” who remain in government.
He, however, was referring to the opposition party members.
He lamented that there were still “yellows” who were still occupying positions in constitutional bodies who were involved in corruption.
However, he could not dismiss them as they have fixed terms.
Nevertheless, he called on people to protest in peace on Thursday, noting that he would order the police to maintain the peace and order while the protesters are holding their activities.