“EDSA’s legacy must not be sacrificed to personal grievances and partisan intolerance,” Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said yesterday.
The STAR/Michael Varcas, File
‘Media protection is people power revolt legacy’
Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) - February 25, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — An independent opposition lawmaker has reminded the public that the protection of media is one of the legacies of the 1986 people power revolt, as the country celebrates today the 34th anniversary of the bloodless uprising.

“EDSA’s legacy must not be sacrificed to personal grievances and partisan intolerance,” Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said yesterday.

Dictator Ferdinand Marcos shut down ABS-CBN following the declaration of martial law in 1972, along with several other media entities that were critical of his administration.

“The imminent closure of the ABS-CBN Corp. due to the malevolent non-renewal of its legislative franchise will be the second time the network will be forced to cease operations,” he added.

“The ennobling spirit of EDSA and the horrific specter of the martial law regime must galvanize all sectors to protect and uphold the freedom of expression, the right to dissent, press freedom and people’s free access to information through media,” Lagman declared.

The veteran lawmaker said Filipinos must learn to “resist all attempts to suppress the freedoms of the press, expression and dissent, which were all victims of the repressive martial law regime under the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.”

Among the media firms Marcos “unconstitutionally shut down” in September 1972 were 292 radio stations, 66 community newspapers, 11 English weekly magazines, seven major English dailies, four Chinese dailies, three Filipino dailies, one English-Filipino daily, one Spanish daily and seven television stations, including ABS-CBN.

Millions of people marched to the highway named after a historian and critic to call for the ouster of the former dictator in 1986. The civil uprising led to the assumption of Corazon Aquino as president.

No number coding

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) announced yesterday that it would suspend number coding for vehicles today.

Malacañang declared today as a special holiday, along with eight other days that are not included in the list of regular holidays.

Meanwhile, EDSA northbound, in front of the People Power Monument, and the westbound lane of White Plains Avenue would be closed to vehicles today, the MMDA also announced. However, it would also depend on the volume of the crowd in the area.

The agency would deploy 648 traffic enforcers in case of any eventuality during the day such as rallies, said EDSA traffic and discipline zone head Edison Nebrija.

An estimated 2,500 security forces will be deployed today, as Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas, National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) director, said that they have harmonized deployment from different government units in preparation for the anniversary rites.

The whole police force in Metro Manila will be on red alert status starting at 4 a.m. today, while the Quezon City Police District had been on full alert since yesterday to prepare for the commemoration.

“There is no imminent threat but the usual perceived threat of terrorism is there. We will deploy personnel in preparation for any eventuality,” he told reporters.

Sinas said they expect rallies in different areas, as the NCRPO identified four areas of concern: the ABS-CBN compound, the premises around the National Housing Authority, the Philippine Coconut Authority and Welcome Rotonda, all in Quezon City.

The Metro Manila police chief said that they are just deploying security forces at these areas where rallies could possibly be held by different groups.

He gave assurance that rallyists would not be dispersed if they assemble at freedom parks anywhere in Metro Manila as long as they do not disturb traffic.

Still, the NCRPO chief said the police are on alert should any trouble develop with rallyists, especially if pro- and anti-government marchers meet. – With Ghio Ong, Romina Cabrera

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