AFP sees fewer militant group supporters on Labor Day rallies

By Priam Nepomuceno

April 30, 2019, 9:32 am

MANILA -- The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is expecting fewer left-leaning group supporters to participate in activities in observance of Labor Day.

"Left-leaning organizations will stage rallies in Welcome Rotonda (Quezon City) Isetann Recto (Manila), PGH (Philippine General Hospital), San Andres Rotonda, FEU (Far Eastern University in Morayta, Manila) to Mendiola. We expect them to generate garbage but not in alarming quantity because there will be less attendees," AFP public affairs office chief, Col. Noel Detoyato, said in a message to the Philippine News Agency (PNA) Monday afternoon.

Also, Detoyato said left-leaning groups like Karapatan, Anakbayan, Kabataan, Anakpawis and Bayan Muna might be spearheaded by their nominees.

"Mr. (Neri) Colmenares will be joining Gabriela party-list groups in the May 1 rally in Legazpi City. Negros will also be staging rallies, which will culminate with a meeting de avance of leftist party-list groups sympathizing with the NPA (New People's Army)," he added.

The Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.

"(In) last year's Labor Day protest of this left-leaning party-list groups, (number of participants) was estimated to be 20,460 participants nationwide, a far cry from the 28,020 they mustered in 2017. With the participants expecting a higher rally fee because of the upcoming elections and the bad record of organizers pocketing the budget, we are expecting a lower turnout of rallyists," the AFP public affairs office chief said.

Detoyato earlier said the military is yet to detect any threat coming from communist rebels for the celebration of Labor Day on Wednesday.

"The only monitored activity by leftist activists so far is the conduct of rallies to push their labor agenda which is already being addressed by the government and our lawmaking body," he added.

Despite the absence of threats, Detoyato said that the AFP has instructed its Joint Task Force National Capital Region to coordinate with the police for possible contingency measures.

"For Metro Manila, JTF NCR is tasked to coordinate with the Philippine National Police and the local government units for the contingency measures to be undertaken including crowd control. Since it is still campaign period, we expect leftist groups and individuals running for public office to take advantage of the Labor Day activities," Detoyato said. (PNA)