Christian activists to stage rallies across Philippines the morning of Feb. 15. Heightened security, transport disruptions likely.

Severity: Informational Alert

This alert began 14 Feb 2020 14:00 GMT and is scheduled to expire 15 Feb 2020 04:00 GMT.

  • Event: Walk for Life rallies
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Start Time/Date: Morning of Feb. 15
  • Impact: Heightened security, localized transport disruptions likely

Summary
Christian activists plan to stage the annual Walk for Life rallies in several cities, especially Cebu and Metro Manila, the morning of Feb. 15. Participants will pray together against the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak. Organizers plan to conclude the events around 0800.

Rallies will take place in the following locations:

  • Cebu City, Cebu Province: Activists will commence the rally at 0400 from the Department of Health Region 7 Office to the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral.
  • Cagayan de Oro, Misamis Oriental Province: Participants will march from Capitol to St Agustin Cathedral.
  • Dagupan, Pangasinan Province: Activists will rally in the city and end at St John the Evangelist Cathedral.
  • Metro Manila: Participants will start marching at 0400 at Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City.
  • Palo, Leyte Province: Activists will march from multiple points to Palo Metropolitan Cathedral.
  • Tarlac City, Tarlac Province: Participants will rally in the city and conclude at Tarlac City Plazuela.


Smaller gatherings may also take place in other cities nationwide. Organizers claim that around 20,000 people will attend the rallies.

Authorities will likely increase security, which may include erecting roadblocks and security cordons around the rally sites. Transport disruptions, such as temporary road closures or traffic diversions, are likely around the locations, especially if the gatherings attract large turnouts. While unlikely, clashes between activists and security personnel cannot be ruled out.

Background and Analysis
Local Catholic leaders initiated Walk for Life rallies in the Philippines in 2017. Activists from other Christian denominations have also participated in the events. While organizers plan to focus this year's marches on the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, past events have denounced an alleged culture of violence in the nation and extrajudicial killing related to the government's war on drugs.

Advice
Avoid the rally sites unless participating as a general precaution. Confirm road status before attempting to reach destinations near the affected areas. Heed all official traffic and security advisories the morning of Feb. 15.

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