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Port Moresby Governor Parkop on Proposed "No Jab, No Job'' Protest March

 PORT MORESBY: The NGO-sponsored protest march, which is set to be staged tomorrow in National Capital District, can only be allowed by the Peace and Good Order Committee of the city if the organisers not only restrict it to 20 participants, but also they comply with Niupela Pasin Protocols to present their petition on ‘No Jab, No Job, policy to the National Government.

If they exceed 20 participants, they must get the approval of the Pandemic Controller as there is a protocol in place restricting public gatherings to 20 or less and no protest or demonstration.

Port Moresby Governor Parkop on Proposed "No Jab, No Job'' Protest March

During a press conference today (Monday) at the City Hall Annex, NCD Governor Hon. Powes Parkop made this known when commenting on the planned peaceful demonstration led by activist Noel Anjo and other NGOs.   

He said whilst respecting the rights of the people to dissent, fundamental rights to life must also be respected.

Governor Parkop told media that the Peace and Good Order Committee, which he chairs, met and resolved that the request for a peaceful demonstration be approved by the Pandemic Controller. 

He clarified that the committee lacked authority to approve it, saying the Pandemic Act prohibits such gatherings comprising over 20 people due to the issuance of the protocols.   

All other public gatherings initiated by NCDC Management and Governor himself get approvals from the Pandemic Controller, he said, urging Mr Anjo to do the same.

“Everyone including myself gets approval from the Controller and Mr Anjo cannot be exception.

However, Governor Parkop made a commitment to receive the petition on behalf the legislative arm of the government and read it in Parliament when it meets this week if the Controller grants approval or the organisers limit their gathering to 20 or less people.  

“I will receive their petition and read it in Parliament if only 20 people gather.” 

Huge public gatherings, he said, threaten lives as they have been proven to be superpower spreader for community transmission of Covid-19, citing Independence gatherings and Late Sir Michael Somare’s funeral helped spread the spike of Delta Variant Corona-Virus which has wreaked havoc and is causing mysteries on people’s lives. 

Alternatively, he said it was appropriate for the NGOs to leave the matter to be dealt with by the Workers Union bodies or challenge it in court.

“It is not appropriate for people who are unemployed taking up this matter as it does not directly affect them. What the NGO groups need to realise is the citizens have lost their jobs because the economic activities which are critical for employment creation, consumption, revenue generation and overall economic growth which have plummeted or slowed down due to Covid-19 impacts. 

“It was not Covid-19 vaccines that put our people off their jobs. Our people are losing their jobs because of adverse economic impacts induced by Covid-19 Pandemic. That is why in order for us to recover and open up the economy like everyone else, everyone should be vaccinated,” said Governor Parkop, a pro-vaccine advocate.

Meanwhile, Governor Parkop called on fellow Parliamentarians to become steadfast and show leadership during this Covid crisis with uniform messaging. 

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