FILE PHOTO: Members of the Philippine National Police in formation
QUEZON CITY, Philippines – A total of 6,000 policemen from the National Capital Region (NCR) will be deployed to ensure security and order on the course of President Rodrigo Duterte’s third State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 23.
According to NCR Police Office (NCRPO) Chief PCSupt. Guillermo Eleazar, they are considering two options to address the bulk of protesters on the day of SONA. They are specifically contemplating on whether or not to set the protest line in Ever Gotesco Mall in Commonwealth Avenue or in Batasan Road.
This is in view of the possible repeat of last year’s event when President Duterte went out of Batasan Complex to personally address the protesters.
Eleazar added that all cops will not be allowed to bring their respective service firearms.
“Maximum tolerance. Wala kaming baril na dadalhin sa mga CDM but of course ang mga security forces natin ay meron. Pero malayo sila. Hindi sila hahalo o malapit sa mga rally,” Eleazar confirmed.
The PNP will not set up container vans and barbed wires to block the protesters but there will be 13 sub security task groups to be led by the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) who will monitor the surroundings up to the Batasan area.
Also, the PNP will invite representatives from the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to join each of the sub security task group to check on the actions of police and demonstrators.
“Ito ang magiging unbiased defenders namin just in case we will be criticized or merong mga sasabihin itong ibang grupo on maliscious intentions against us. At least andon ang Commission on Human Rights na nakita nila what really happens,” Eleazar added.
On Saturday (July 14), the PNP sets to have a dialogue with leaders of militant groups. Though the PNP has not receive any threats prior to the event, the NCRPO assures that the will remain on full alert status.
“When the NICA brief us yesterday, wala syang sinabi na threat o manggugulo. But just the same hindi tayo pwedeng maging kumpiyansa. Just like the previous SONA and other major events laging nakahanda tayo doon,” the NCRPO Chief explained.
The NCRPO, meanwhile, reminds foreign nationals that they are strictly prohibited to join any protest actions. – Lea Ylagan / Marje Pelayo