NCRPO on full alert for SONA starting Saturday

MANILA The National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) will put its forces on full alert starting Saturday as part of security preparations for President Rodrigo R. Duterte's 4th State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 22.

Maj. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, NCRPO chief, said Friday that about 14,000 police officers would be deployed to ensure peace and order during the SONA.

Eleazar said 9,162 cops and force multipliers would be sent to secure the vicinity of the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City.

The cops, he said, would be deployed at about 5 a.m. on Monday to areas where protesters would be allowed up to St. Peter Parish along Commonwealth Ave. for militant groups, and at the IBP road for the pro-administration groups for as long as these are held peacefully.

We will start around 5 a.m. We don't want our people that we will deploy early to get tired unnecessarily because based on our arrangement, we expect that the protesters will start to move after lunch. We will also monitor their movement going to Commonwealth Ave., Eleazar told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

He assured that they have a contingency plan in case the President decides to face the protesters after delivering his address.

Eleazar said they have already coordinated with the Presidential Security Group (PSG) regarding the matter.

Just like what happened two years ago, the President came out and we were really surprised because that was unexpected. But after that, we have prepared contingency measures in case he does it again, he told reporters, after meeting with stakeholders and militant groups to agree on conditions regarding the protests.

Eleazar noted that part of the security protocol is to jam cellular signals.

At least 15,000 protesters are expected to hold rallies but Eleazar said he had already met with their leaders to set guidelines to prevent violent confrontations.

Part of the discussion was Eleazar's appeal for the protest organizers to ask their members not to carry bags and wear jackets as a preventive security measure.

But this is just a discouragement. We cannot prohibit them from doing it," he said. 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 they have not monitored any serious threat of attacks but we are continuously coordinating with agencies involved.

He said the 9,162 are part of the 15,000 cops and force multipliers to be deployed around Metro Manila during the President's 4th SONA.

Aside from the vicinity of the House of Representatives, police officers will secure places of convergence, such as malls and churches, as well as vital installations, such as terminals, airports, and seaports.

Eleazar also assured that security will be provided in Mendiola, the US Embassy, and the Edsa Shrine, where rallies are expected to be held on Monday.

The PNP remains vigilant to prevent the occurrence of crimes and respond to any call for assistance, he added, referring to the Philippine National Police. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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