The Philippine Resistance Against Covid Tyranny (PRACT) successfully conducted its second protest rally at the Quezon Memorial Circle (QMC) Freedom Park last Friday, 26 November 2021. PRACT completed its program despite expected opposition from the QMC Officials and their combined police and security forces as reported in the first rally.https://covidcalltohumanity.org/2021/11/18/pract-rally-against-mandatory-vaccination-successful-despite-verbal-clash-with-security-and-police-force-at-venue/
We will share our experience in detail in the hope that the story and the reflections may help other groups conduct protest rallies at their own Freedom Parks.
Two Points of Contention
Their opposition basically boiled down to two points. QMC is not a Freedom Park. Even if it were a Freedom Park, Quezon City health protocols can be still be imposed in a Freedom Park.
PRACT quickly demolished the first point of contention. PRACT came prepared with all the legal documents. PRACT showed to the police that Batas Pambansa 880 (BP 880), Chapter III, Section 4 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, April 25, 2000, Supreme Court decision, and the signed Memorandum Circular of the Department of Interior and Local Governments (DILG) – all powerfully and clearly supported the reality that QMC is a Freedom Park. Covid Call to Humanity (CCH), a PRACT member, already uploaded these details at its website even before the 26 November rally.https://covidcalltohumanity.org/2021/11/23/template-for-activating-a-freedom-park-in-your-area/ and … Continue reading
In addition, PRACT also showed legally that, because of their rude and unprofessional behavior, QMC officials violated the RA 6713, “The Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards of Government Officials and Employees”. PRACT also told the police that they would file a legal case against QMC administration for gross violation of RA 6713.
At this point, it became clear to all the Freedom Park issue would only be resolved through a legal process. But since we had all the legal documents on hand, which all on the QMC side did not want to even look at, the QMC people did not push the issue since PRACT was determined to act out the reality that QMC is a Freedom Park. PRACT would not be leaving QMC nor will it stop the protest.
The Police saw this and argued that granting, for the sake of argument, that indeed QMC is a Freedom Park, does not mean that PRACT can violate the health ordinance of the city. The health ordinance requires all, within Quezon City, to wear facemasks and practice social distancing in public places.
PRACT immediately showed the police that Chapter III, Section 4, of the Constitution defended the right to peaceful assembly in very strong words. Explicitly it said that “no law” can be passed that would contradict this right of citizens to free assembly, speech, and expression.
PRACT emphasized the words “freedom of expression”. PRACT explained to the police that there was no science behind the wearing of facemasks. The holes of the facemasks are anywhere from 200 to 1000 times larger than the size of the “in silico” crafted SARS-COV-2.https://covidcalltohumanity.org/2021/10/18/nicanor-perlas-asks-the-duterte-government-to-cease-and-desist-extreme-and-unscientific-covid-policies/Facemasks have become not a model of health protection but an expression of submission and obedience. PRACT emphasized that in a Freedom Park, the right not to wear facemasks is exactly the kind of “freedom of expression” that is defended by our Constitution.
PRACT even asked the police. “You are all vaccinated, right?” The police nodded in the affirmative. So PRACT asked the police. “If you are all vaccinated, why do you have to wear facemasks? You are supposed to be protected from any putative virus.” The police looked bewildered because they could not respond. They knew that vaccines, despite potentially harming their lives, did not protect them from re-infection. https://covidcalltohumanity.org/2021/11/11/doh-admitted-fully-vaccinated-people-can-still-get-covid-19/ Later on, some of them admitted that they do not like to wear the masks. But they were just following orders.
So the issue with the police became clear. They had to follow orders even if they themselves had their own doubts regarding the health orders.
Diffusion of Potential Physical Conflict
A potential scenario for physical violence was emerging. Neither side wanted to yield. All PRACT members, when asked, did not want to put on facemasks. It would violate the very principle of why they were protesting. But the police also had their marching orders from their General. They were intent on slapping health protocol violations on all PRACT protestors.
The Ground Commander at QMC, who was an unusually decent and tactful policeman, explained why they had to give violation tickets to PRACT protestors. He was calmly explaining what would happen to them if the police do not give violation tickets to the PRACT protestors. Their General could penalize the entire QMC police force if they disobeyed the orders of their higher authority.
The tension was rising. The PRACT spokesperson advised all protestors to just sit in their place should the police attempt to ticket them for violations. But in this precise moment of tension and potential conflict, the spokesperson of PRACT saw a solution to the standoff.
The PRACT spokesperson asked the Captain of the policemen if ticketing would also mean arresting. The officer said, “No”. PRACT further asked what the level of the fine would be. The officer answered, “PHP 300”. The PRACT spokesperson mentioned that most of PRACT would not accept the violation ticket. However, a few would.
That few would do this, not to yield their principle, not that they agree that they were violating the law. They would do this more out of an understanding and compassion of what could happen to the policemen should they have zero issuance of violation tickets. The policemen, then, volunteered, seeing the goodwill, that they would reciprocate by allowing PRACT to continue their program.
The PRACT spokesperson took the initiative. He volunteered to be ticketed. The policemen were surprised and slightly disoriented. They had been arguing various fine points of the law for almost two hours. Now here was the spokesperson offering to be the first to be ticketed. But the spokesperson emphasized that he was signing in protest. He reiterated an earlier point. They will file a lawsuit against the administration and ask the court to grant damages so that they could recover whatever ultimate cost the fines would amount to. There was no yielding of principle.
The spokesperson then went to his colleagues and explained what happened. He asked who else would like to volunteer to be ticketed. After hearing the explanation, a lot volunteered. However, the spokesperson said that only a few volunteers would suffice. In total, 5 out of over 60 PRACT protestors volunteered to get ticketed.
With that, the police stopped blocking the protest. They even asked other stalls to tone down their music while the PRACT program was going on.
Then came the most moving part of the program. This was an expression of collective prayer for those who have died or are vaccine-injured. Different kinds of prayer and remembrances were shared. Many were moved. The police were still there, watching the litany of individual and collective prayers. The spiritual dimension of the protest became palpable, alive, and real.
With this, the rally ended, peacefully and with impact. PRACT announced upcoming further rallies and legal actions within the days, weeks, and months to come. PRACT vowed to continue with the protests as long as the government continued mandatory coerced vaccinations with synthetic bioweapons.
Mainstream Media Coverage
One unexpected development was the widespread coverage of mainstream media of the event. Ten news outlets covered the event. The digital version of the Philippine Star came out with a photo of the rally. There are now thousands of comments, mostly favorable, in this digital version of the newspaper.
The rally also appeared on the front page of The Manila Times. Both clearly displayed the PRACT banner: “Mandatory Vaccinations is a Violation of Human Rights.”
Not a Compromise
I personally would not call the solution to the conflict a compromise. I would rather call this a creative solution that came from an understanding of the basic foundational position of the two conflicting parties. A real solution cannot come from the erosion of two conflicting principles. Rather, in a creative solution, one intuits an answer on the basis of an understanding of how these opposing principles may actually come to meet at a higher point of synthesis. In this process, the inner logic of the heart comes into play.
One is reminded of the quote from the famous French mathematician, Blaise Pascal: “The heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of… We know the truth not only by the reason but by the heart.”https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/559339-the-heart-has-its-reasons-which-reason-knows-nothing-of In moments of deadlocks of reason, then the deeper reason and creativity of the heart can come to play. But this can only happen if one is calm amidst an emotional storm.
By the way, this is not a quote to justify irrationality. We are speaking here of a deeper integrating reason which is truly creative.
Freedom Park As Venue to Overcome Fear
Massive fear of COVID-19 has conquered the Philippines. In fact, psychologists have started describing our current situation as mass hysteria, impermeable to reason and science. If we cannot overcome this fear, we all have no future in this country. Fear leads to irrational submission to tyrannical authority. That would clearly end democracy and the future of this country.
A way out of fear is to independently discern the truth and then to act differently as a result of that truth. Freedom Parks offer those who are ready for action to act out of that new truth with others. All cities and towns have freedom parks. In these Freedom Parks, we can conquer fear and revitalize our rapidly dying democracy. This is why we at CCH have not only published a lot about Freedom Parks but have also activated the most strategic Freedom Park for us: the QMC Freedom Park. See you at your Freedom Parks!
What follows is a sequence of pictures that highlight key points in the rally. See above for a complete report of the rally.
First are two pictures of our new face mask, the lab rat! That attracted MSM attention as can be seen from the ten MSM photographers in the picture.
At around the same time, the police came. The debate started.
Meanwhile, while the debate was going on, PRACT members decided to solidify their ranks and banners.
As tension increased, our PRACT cameraman captured one of the policemen holding his gun, an action forbidden under the law (BP 880).
With this development, PRACT held a quick meeting to finalize its stance. The PRACT stance resulted in a position which integrated, in a higher level, two conflicting positions. (See article above for details.)
This was the breakthrough moment. It released tension between PRACT and the police and resulted in some light moments.
Shortly thereafter, PRACT continued with its program unhindered by the police. The most important part of this was the prayer for the dead and the vaccine-injured.
Throughout this time, new PRACT members signed the PRACT Manifesto and Principles of Unity.
Most of the attendees in the second PRACT rally were new members of PRACT and had not attended the previous PRACT rally. The presence of many young people was noteworthy. But people from all age groups were present. Note the total absence of face masks and social distancing among members of PRACT.
|↩2||https://covidcalltohumanity.org/2021/11/23/template-for-activating-a-freedom-park-in-your-area/ and https://covidcalltohumanity.org/2021/11/25/tension-emerges-as-freedom-park-officials-snub-pract-intent-to-rally/|