Celso cites police, military for orderly anti-US actions PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 21 April 2012 14:13

Mayor Celso Lobregat has commended the police and military authorities for the proper and orderly handling of the protest actions against RP-US military joint exercises conducted by out of town groups April 18 and 19 in Zamboanga City.

Close to 2,000 protesters coming from other areas in Mindanao and headed by former Bulacan Congressman Satur Ocampo staged a unity march and later rallies at the Plaza Pershing supposedly for Environment Day but focusing their sentiments against the conduct of the joint RP-US military exercises.

Prior to the protest action, Mayor Lobregat had a series of meetings with OIC City Police Director Chief Supt. Mario Yanga and all station commanders to discuss measures on how to handle the situation focusing on various possible scenarios. The mayor’s order was for the authorities to exercise maximum tolerance and to allow the protesters the right to assembly and freedom of expression.

The mayor, through the office of City Administrator Antonio Orendain Jr. issued the group a permit to rally as well as to conduct the unity march from the Enriquez Sports complex to the junction of San Roque and Suterville and not up to the Western Mindanao Command headquarters as sought by the group of protesters.

Though not indicated in their letter-request for permit sent to City Hall, the group in its letter to the police informed about the conduct of a program in Upper Calarian in front of Wesmincom. This, however was not allowed due to inconsistency in the requests and in the permit granted.

The chief executive said everything turned out well with no major problems encountered while the protesters were in Zamboanga City. He stressed that the security measures put in place were intended secure the protesters themselves and to maintain order on the streets.

The City Police Office mobilized forces to help maintain law and order on the streets during the 2-day protest action. The Task Force Zamboanga likewise complemented in the security detail.

Meanwhile, Mayor Lobregat said the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police need all the assistance related to training on anti-terrorism and even in the solution of crimes to effectively and efficiently sustain law and order in the country.

The PNP is a recipient of a state of the art and modern Crime Laboratory facility from the US government, now being used in the solution of crimes in the city. The Wesmincom on the other hand is a recipient of a Civil Defense Center also from the US government through the JSOTFP.

“But we are advocating assistance from any government that is willing to help in the training and upgrading of our armed forces and police facilities”, the mayor added. — Sheila Covarubias