Press Release
April 27, 2006

*Freedom parks cant contain dissent , protests: Recto*
Huge Labor Day rallies to test Malacañang

The CPR was uncalled for in the first place as the Constitution and the Local Government Code guarantee the full exercise of the citizens right to peaceably assemble, Sen. Ralph Recto said.

Malacañang s appreciation of the Supreme Court ruling will be tested on Monday when workers hold huge rallies nationwide on Labor Day, he stressed.

The High Courts ruling is a strong reminder of the government obligation to designate freedom parks that many local executives disregarded for 20 years, providing for freedom parks in all towns and cities, Recto said.

However, the mere presence of freedom parks cant guarantee that dissent and protests will just die down or be contained in those plots of land, he emphasized.

Recto recalled that when protest rallies and demonstrations struck mainly in Manila, Malacanang had Plaza Miranda as the freedom park to reckon with. In Makati it was Ugarte field that played a major role in President Corys yellow revolution.

As the hotbed of activism, the University of the Philippines has set aside a freedom park in their Diliman campus. Batasan freedom park is just round the corner of the House of Representatives and Payatas. Even far-away Romblon has its own.

Local executives will have a big role to play in the protection of the right to peaceably assemble. They would now have to determine government-owned land that are acceptable to be declared as freedom parks, Recto clarified.

Or, in the absence of available government land, to acquire private land as freedom park with just compensation to the owner.

The Local Government Code even provides that a designated freedom park cannot be closed permanently if no alternate site designated to replace it.

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