Palace suspends government work, classes in public schools on Sept. 21 

Work in government and classes in public schools and universities on Thursday are called off by Malacañang to give way to massive protests organized by administration critics.

As militants, church leaders, human-rights activists, indigenous peoples and opposition figures prepare to troop to the streets on Thursday, Malacañang has decided to suspend government work and classes on what it called as a “national day of protest”.

“The President has announced September 21 as a national day of protest, a day set aside for people to exercise their constitutional rights to freedom of speech, peaceful assembly and to seek redress for their grievances against the government past or present,” Presidential Spokesman Ernesto C. Abella said in a news briefing on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) has postponed the nationwide simultaneous earthquake drill on Thursday. According to the NDRRMC, the drill was called off because most of the pilot areas are government offices and public schools, which will be shut down on Thursday due to suspension of work and classes.

Administration critics have scheduled protests nationwide on Thursday in commemoration of the martial-law declaration of the late strongman former President Ferdinand E. Marcos. They will also denounce the spate of killings under the Duterte administration’s flagship campaign, the war on drugs.

Abella said the President has instructed security forces to keep off protests so as to let the activists freely express their indignation against the government.

“Law-enforcement authorities are directed to stay away from mass actions and to exercise maximum restraint, unless their intervention is necessary to maintain public order,” Abella said.

“Certain government agencies shall be required to provide standby emergency assistance near sites of protest actions,” he added.

However, Abella clarified September 21 is not a special nonworking holiday, and the Office of the Executive Secretary is expected to issue a memorandum circular suspending work in government and classes in public school and universities. Work in the private sector and classes in private schools, on the other hand, are left to the discretion of their respective heads.

Meanwhile, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) has postponed the nationwide simultaneous earthquake drill on Thursday. According to the NDRRMC, the drill was called off because most of the pilot areas are government offices and public schools, which will be shut down on Thursday due to suspension of work and classes.

The NDRRMC said it has decided to conduct the drill at a later date to ensure maximum participation. However, the new schedule has yet to be determined.

Administration critics, mostly militant groups, are scheduled to protest on Thursday to condemn the war on drugs, which has allegedly claimed thousands of lives, including those of minors. Aside from this, they will also call on the government to lift martial law in Mindanao and to discontinue efforts to rehabilitate the Marcos family.

 

 

 

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