Duterte mulls class, gov't work suspension in Metro Manila on September 21

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 15) — Classes and work in government offices in Metro Manila may be called off on September 21 to avoid trouble from demonstrations against the anniversary of martial law, the Defense Chief said on Friday.

September 21 marks the 45th anniversary of former President Ferdinand Marcos' declaration of martial law.

President Rodrigo Duterte, in an interview on Thursday, said he will declare a "holiday" to keep people safe from expected protests, but mentioned no date.

"This early, I am announcing that I am ordering a holiday para walang masaktan, walang ano kung may demonstration diyan, magkagulo. Walang trabaho ang gobyerno 'yang araw na 'yan at ang klase suspended," Duterte said.

In a separate media briefing on Friday, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the President told him leftist groups are planning to stage "massive" protests.

"Sinabi niya na pagka magkaroon ng massive rally sa Metro Manila and it might inconvenience the public, hindi ko na sila papasukin," he said in Malacañang.

[Translation: He said that if there will be a massive rally in Metro Manila and it might inconvenience the public, I will not let them go to class/work.]

But nothing is final as yet.

"Hindi niya sinabi anong araw, but since the Left is threatening to do this massive demonstration on the 21st, siguro 21st," Lorenzana said.

[Translation: He didn't say which day, but since the Left is threatening  to do this massive demonstration on the 21st, it might be on the 21st.]

The Defense Chief said the President told him the demonstrators are free to protest.

Duterte on Thursday said the police force will not stop the protests, and will only assign them to man traffic in Metro Manila.