MANILA The National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) and various militant groups both agreed to the conduct of peaceful demonstrations during the fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Rodrigo R. Duterte on July 22.
NCRPO director Maj. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said he already had dialogues with leaders of anti-Duterte groups on Wednesday and they agreed to the rules on mass actions during the occasion.
He said rallies may be held along Commonwealth Avenue up to St. Peter Parish for as long as these are held peacefully.
Hindi kami nag-impose or nag-demand kung saan sila ilalagay dahil pinagbigyan natin nagkaroon ng agreement at may mgaguidelines dapat sundin nila. We accommodated them and pag hindi sila sumunod sa guidelines we have police power. Our point, gusto natin ipakita sa public na hindi sila sisira sa pinag-usapan (We did not impose or demanded on where they should be. We have allowed them to stage rallies and there was an agreement and there are guidelines that they should comply with. We accommodated them and if they break the guidelines, we have police power. Our point is we want to show the public that they will abide by what we agreed upon, Eleazar told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).
Eleazar said if protesters are caught violating any of the rules set during their dialogue, the police would not hesitate to use force, especially if they 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, he stressed.
Eleazar noted that there was no recorded violent dispersal of protesters staging mass actions since Duterte assumed the presidency in 2016.
The NCRPO chief said policemen will not be armed with shields and truncheons as an act of goodwill while shipping containers and barbed wires will not be laid out just like they did for the past three years along Batasan Road and Commonwealth Avenue.
Eleazar said he will directly supervise the security preparations and operations in Metro Manila which includes the deployment of more than 15,000 security troops.
He directed all his police district directors to strengthen anti-criminality measures and police visibility operations all over the NCR, particularly during the SONA.
He said they have yet to detect any threat to security in relation to Duterte's upcoming SONA.
We assure the public that no threats to security monitored or reported so far. But the PNP remains vigilant to prevent the occurrence of crimes and respond to any call for assistance, Eleazar added.
The police official also bared that the NCRPO will secure places of convergence like malls and churches as well as vital installations like terminals, airports, and seaports.
The PNP has already drawn up the security plan that includes the deployment of cops and preparations are now underway in the run-up to the SONA of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, PNP chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde earlier said.
We urge all those who plan to participate in assemblies and rallies to make their activity peaceful and orderly; secure appropriate permits from local government units; and coordinate with the local police to ensure smooth flow of traffic, he added. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency