June 11, 2017
Malacanang respects the right of those who are set to hold a rally in Manila on Monday, Independence Day, to call for the lifting of martial law in entire Mindanao.
In a statement on Sunday, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella noted the rally, dubbed “National Day of Prayer and Action for Peace and Human Rights,” at the Andres Bonifacio Shrine beside the Manila City Hall where different militant groups and former and current legislators are expected to attend.
He said the planned demonstration "shows how vibrant democracy is in the Philippines.
"As PRRD (President Rodrigo Roa Duterte), quoting a famous line, repeatedly said, 'He may not agree with what you say, but he’ll defend to the death your right to say it',” Abella said.
This right includes the right to air people's grievances, including opposition to the proclamation of martial law in the whole island of Mindanao, he added.
The protesters would call for the lifting of martial law, which Duterte declared in the whole of Mindanao on May 23 after the Islamic State-linked Maute Terror Group attacked Marawi City. Martial law is effective for 60 days.
Since May 23, the government troopers have been conducting offensive operations against the terrorists.
On Friday, 13 Marine soldiers were killed in an intensified operations against the militants as the military hoped to liberate Marawi on Independence Day.
"The Palace is deeply saddened by the news on the 13 Marines killed in action during a firefight in Marawi City. They fought gallantly for the liberation of our Maranao brothers and sisters," Abella said.
"This incident, albeit unfortunate, gives us greater impetus to clear Marawi of lawless elements, save the trapped civilians, and restore order, security and normalcy to the city and its residents," he said.
The Palace official urged the public to continue showing their strong support to the courageous and heroic men and women in uniform fighting for Marawi and defending the Republic.
Meanwhile, the Armed Forces of the Philippines observed on Sunday a "Day of Silence and Prayer" in tribute to the fallen heroes of Marawi and also in remembrance of the innocent lives lost to rebel atrocities.
"Our men served with honor and we ask you to join us in prayer for the repose of their souls, strength for the bereaved families in this moment of grief and for peace in our land," said Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr., military spokesman, in a text message to reporters. (Celerina Monte/DMS)
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