THE Philippine National Police (PNP) will field at least 4,000 policemen to ensure peace and order during the various protests that will be held on Friday, September 21, the 46th anniversary of the declaration of martial law.

PNP spokesperson Chief Superintendent Benigno Durana Jr. said they have monitored that several leftist groups will hold protests in Metro Manila and other key cities to latch on various political and economic issues against the government.

He said they are expecting at least 5,000 protesters.

“While we may not agree with these minority’s sentiments, we will make sure they would be able to fully and freely exercise their constitutional rights to freedom of assembly and expression. But to root for and help government fail or incite others to bring it down are not only violations of the Revised Penal Code but also acts of rebellion against what God has established,” he said.

“Although the right to peaceably assemble will be upheld and respected, safety and convenience of the general public, and security of public property and installations will be the paramount concern that will be safeguarded at all times,” he added.

Aside from the 4,000 Civil Disturbance Management (CDM) contingents, Durana said 1,000 reserve forces will be on standby at the National Headquarters ready to be deployed on short notice to where they will be needed.

Durana ensured that the police will impose maximum tolerance, observe human rights and “adhere to prescribed rules of engagement contained in the Police Operational Procedures, and provisions of Batas Pambansa 880 or the Public Assembly Act of 1985.“

The official said they are also prepared for possible infiltration of the peaceful protest by members of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) New People’s Army (NPA) who may instigate participants to create trouble and incite violence.

With that, Durana urged particularly the students to refrain from joining such rallies for their own safety.

“We assume that they will always try to create chaos and disturbance and sometimes violence, that's why we are appealing to the students, they are right now being instigated by these militant groups to join tomorrow's protest actions to refrain from joining these protest rallies for their own safety,” he said.

“Because we cannot discount the fact ‘yung mga grupo na walang magandang interest sa kapakanan ng taumbayan may try to create chaos and incite violence in that legitimate democratic exercise,” he added. (SunStar Philippines)