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Manila cops secure 8 rally ‘hot spots’

A considerable number of uniformed policemen, backed up by a contingent of plainclothes officers, have secured eight "hot spots" or sites of possible rally convergence zones in Manila for today’s celebration of Labor Day.

As early as 7 a.m. yesterday, covert operatives were deployed in front of the University of Sto. Tomas on España, the stretch of Morayta, Welcome Rotonda, the stretch of Ayala Boulevard, Bantayog ng Mga Bayani monument near Manila City Hall, Liwasang Bonifacio, Plaza Salamanca, Bustillos street and Mendiola.

These areas will be secured by at least 5,000 anti-riot officers armed with truncheons and shields and backed up by firetrucks. A military contingent is also on standby to assist the police if rallies get out of control.

Superintendent Rolando Miranda, chief of the Manila Police District (MPD) Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit, said two shifts of policemen will take turns guarding and monitoring the hot spots. Some 95 intelligence officers will be deployed in Mendiola, 20 on España/ A.H. Lacson Boulevard and 10 on Quirino Avenue.

Rally organizers predicted at least 300,000 participants from the labor sector to join in the march.

City Hall officials have designated Plaza Miranda in Quiapo and the Liwasang Bonifacio in Ermita as the "freedom parks" for rallyists.

However, rally organizers have threatened to march to Mendiola with or without a permit.

Meanwhile, the MPD, led by district director Chief Superintendent Pedro Bulaong, will hold a Mass at the foot of the Chino Roces (formerly Mendiola) bridge at 6 a.m. today.

"This is an opportune time for the spiritual and moral upliftment of officers and men, either as members of the CDM, security personnel or anti-crime operatives," Bulaong said.

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