President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) to exercise maximum tolerance and “sacrifice even if people spit on you” during protest rallies when he delivers this third State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 23.
Duterte also discouraged law enforcers from bringing firearms, except for sticks and shields.
To his critics, the President said, “Air your grievance. That is a constitutional guarantee. Seek redress, shout on the streets.”
He even offered to declare a two-day holiday to allow all Filipinos to join rallies.
“Gusto ko nga, magpista kayong lahat. I will declare the next two days as bakasyon time so that all the people can go there during the SONA address at mag-demonstrate kayo doon. (I even want all of you to hold a feast. I will declare the next two days as vacation time so that all the people can go there during the SONA address and demonstrate there),” Duterte said during the 2018 National Science Week held at the SMX Convention Center here Friday evening.
He said the military and the police should just back off in the face of advancing protesters.
“Pag wala na kayong atrasan, sige abante na naman kayo. Pag naipit na kayo because your back is on the wall, you are boxed in a corner, maybe you should also try to advance a little (If you have nowhere to go because your back is on the wall, you are boxed in a corner, maybe you should try to advance a little),” the President said.
“But as much as possible, I do not want to see any rifle, anything there except your baton and your shield. And you have to sacrifice, duraan ka diyan, pati ‘yung mga foreigners sumasabi ng mura sa inyo, hayaan mo sila (even if people spit on you, including foreigners who would curse you, let them be),” he added.
Duterte, however, clarified, “I’m not asking you to die. Just retreat. Do not be afraid.” (PNA)