THE National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) assured Wednesday, July 17, that all security measures have been ironed out to ensure peace and order during President Rodrigo Duterte's fourth State of the Nation Address (Sona) on July 22.
NCRPO Director Major General Guillermo Eleazar said they will deploy at least 9,000 policemen and force multipliers in Quezon City on Sona day.
A contingency plan has also been readied, in case Duterte decides to face again the protesters. Eleazar said they are coordinating closely with the Presidential Security Group (PSG).
The President faced the protesters after his Sona in 2017.
“Meron tayong contingency for that and coordinated naman tayo sa PSG just like nga ‘yung nangyari two years ago na biglang lumabas siya (President Duterte). Nagulat talaga kami kasi that was unexpected pero after that, nagprepare tayo ng contingency just in case meron ganung scenario na mangyari,” Eleazar said in the sidelines of his meeting with stakeholders and leaders of militant groups who will stage protest actions on Monday, July 22.
He said they also discourage protesters from wearing a jacket and bringing backpacks. Jackets and backpacks, he added, can be used to conceal illegal contraband.
Eleazar said this measure was first implemented in Davao City following the twin bombings in Indanan, Sulu that were perpetrated by two suicide bombers.
He said there will also be signal jammers, noting that cellphones are the most common instrument used in detonating an explosive.
“Well, for the past years kasi nagkakaroon ng jinajam. Pag-uusapan namin ng PSG but I believe, probably part of their protocol is magkaroon ng temporary suspension ng telecom services on time na nandun na yung ating Presidente,” he said.
He said they expect at least 15,000 protesters who were designated to occupy the Commonwealth Avenue, near the St. Peter Parish.
“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,” said Eleazar.
He said they have not monitored any serious threat against the event, adding that they are in constant coordination with the Muslim community leaders in the Metro for the intelligence-gathering and information-sharing relating to potential security threats in the metropolis.
“In several times, they proved their sincerity in our effort to maintain peace and order in Metro Manila. They have been helping us and we have good relationship with them,” said Eleazar.
He noted the arrest of several suspected members of terrorist groups in the Metro, which he said would not be possible without the help of the Muslim community.
“If we have information, we ask for their help and if they have information, they would immediately relay all of them to us. It is indeed a good collaboration to maintain peace and order here in Metro Manila,” he added.
Aside from the vicinity of the House of Representatives, Eleazar said the NCRPO will secure places of convergence like malls and churches, as well as vital installations like terminals, airports, and seaports.
He said security forces will also be fielded in Mendiola, the United States Embassy and Edsa Shrine, where rallies are also expected to be held during the Sona. (SunStar Philippines)