9K cops to secure PRRD’s 4th SONA

MANILA Around 9,000 policemen will be deployed to maintain peace and order in the upcoming fourth state of the nation address (SONA) of President Rodrigo Duterte, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said on Monday.

PNP chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde said he has been informed by National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) director Maj. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar about the number of police personnel that will secure the SONA on July 22.

So this is more than what we prepared last year. I think last year it was more than 7,000, Albayalde said in a press briefing at Camp Crame.

He said the PNP Civil Disturbance Management units, along with their counterparts in the Armed Forces of the Philippines, have been holding competitions to hone their skills in dealing with protesters not only in Metro Manila but nearby police regional offices like Region 3, Calabarzon and Special Action Force.

This is one way of preparing our people for SONA, Albayalde said.

He noted that there was no recorded violent dispersal since Duterte assumed the presidency in 2016.

Meanwhile, Eleazar said he will directly supervise the security preparations and operations in Metro Manila.

He directed all his police district directors to strengthen anti-criminality measures and police visibility operations all over NCR, particularly during the SONA.

Eleazar said demonstrators will not be prevented from holding rallies for as long as these are held peacefully.

He added that policemen will not be armed with shields and truncheons as an act of good will while shipping containers and barbed wires will not be laid out just like they did for the last three years along Batasan Road and Commonwealth Avenue.

I am expecting na itong SONA na darating ay wala rin tayo ilalagay pero nasa pag-uusap po yan at open ho kami sa dialogue with those leaders ng mga grupo na lalahok, (I am expecting that in this coming SONA, we will not put anything but we're open for dialogue with leaders of the groups who will join (protest), Eleazar said.

Eleazar said the dialogue aims to establish coordination, cooperation, and understanding between the police, stakeholders, community leaders, and cause-oriented groups on self-policing, no permit�no rally policy, traffic rerouting and other public services.

He, however, warned that the police would not hesitate to use force if the protesters become unruly.

As usual, our police will exercise maximum tolerance but at the same time we asked the militant groups to do their share and police their ranks to ensure a peaceful and orderly SONA day, Eleazar said.

Eleazar said they have so far not monitored any threat to security in relation to Duterte's upcoming SONA.

Tuloy po ang pakikipag ugnayan ng pulis sa lahat ng ahensya ng ating pamahalaan at sa ibang sektor para makakuha ng information sa pag-a-analyze at pag-a-assess nitong mga banta sa seguridad pero so far wala po tayong namomonitor (We continue to coordinate with all government agencies and different sectors to gather information in analyzing and assessing any possible threat to security but so far we have not monitored any threat), Eleazar said. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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