Instead, the anti-riot policemen would only be carrying batons and truncheons, said Chief Supt. Guillermo Eleazar, director of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO).
No guns during SONA — police
Non Alquitran (The Philippine Star) - July 13, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The more than 6,000 policemen securing the third State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Duterte on July 23 would be banned from carrying firearms, a police official said yesterday.

Instead, the anti-riot policemen would only be carrying batons and truncheons, said Chief Supt. Guillermo Eleazar, director of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO).

Eleazar clarified that only the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) would be armed, although they will not be deployed at the site of protest actions but in nearby areas to respond on short notice during emergency situations.

“We would exercise maximum tolerance in dealing with the protesters. Although we are not armed, our SWAT unit and other security forces would be on standby status in areas far from the rally site,” Eleazar said.

The NCRPO is preparing for the possibility that President Duterte would meet with the protesters as he did last year.

According to Eleazar, the anti-riot policemen would be deployed along Commonwealth Avenue up to IBP Road going to the Batasang Pambansa complex.

Eleazar heads the Task Force SONA while Chief Supt. Joselito Esquivel, chief of the Quezon City Police District (QCPD), is the ground commander.

The NCRPO will invite representatives from the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to accompany the police and observe the conduct of the crowd control policemen in dealing with the pro- and anti-Duterte protesters.

The presence of the CHR representatives would serve as the NCRPO’s defense mechanism in the event violence erupts during close confrontation between the police and protesters.

Eleazar said the NCRPO will meet with militant leaders to establish ground rules for the peaceful and orderly conduct of the SONA protest rallies.

He said the NCRPO is ready to meet head on any emergency situation related to the SONA on July 23.

GUILLERMO ELEAZAR NATIONAL CAPITAL REGION POLICE OFFICE STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS
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