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Discern if used as pawns for rallies of terrorists-Zagala

May 13, 2022 - Friday 6:05 PM by Catherine Cueto

Article Banner Image Photo from Davao Oriental PIO

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) appealed to the public, especially those joining protests or rallies to discern if they are fighting for the common good or are turning out to be pawned for several terrorist groups without them knowing it.
 
“We wish them to be discerning. Please study well kung sino mga kasama niyo (who you are with),” Col. Ramon Zagala, spokesperson of the AFP, said at the briefing of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.
 
Without naming names of groups, the AFP had previously been calling on the public not to be swayed by terrorist groups or fronts of the organization, as they become unwilling pawns to their motives.
 
He said that with regards to the rally by progressive groups at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) and the “thanksgiving” of Vice President Leni Robredo, the groups involved should always follow the rule of law.
 
Zagala also said that while the Philippines is a free country where people can openly express their opinions and ideas, it is two-way freedom of expression.
 
“Freedom of expression goes both ways. You can say what you want and those who don’t agree with you please accept them also. For everyone, the AFP will follow the rule of law and support democratic institutions,” he said.
 
For his part, Philippine National Police (PNP) officer-in-charge Lt. Gen. Vicente Danao Jr., who was also present at the briefing, maintained that the recently concluded national and local elections were “very, very peaceful and normal.”
 
“We can proudly say the results of the national and local elections comparing it to the last national election, the conduct is very peaceful and normal compared to 2016,” he said.
 
Danao earlier said that the public must be vigilant, especially when public gatherings where safety and health protocols must still be achieved.
 
“Now is another opportunity to show goodwill by being responsible citizens of this country. The essence of real democracy is grounded on respect and discipline fostering the general welfare of the Filipinos,” he added.
 
PNP Spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo said the police will always exercise maximum tolerance.
 
“Nagbigay na po ng instruction 'yung ating OIC si Police Lieutenant General Vicente Danao na ang mga magbabantay po para po dito sa gagawing protesta ay to exercise maximum restraint and tolerance nga,” she said at a recent Laging Handa Briefing.
 
(Our OIC Police Lieutenant General Vicente Danao already instructed the personnel who will monitor these protests to exercise maximum restraint and tolerance.)
 
She also said that the PNP would also monitor the traffic situation in the said areas.

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