Chief Supt. Guillermo Eleazar, director of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) said they wanted to do away with the unsightly view of shipping containers and barbed wire blocking portions of Commonwealth Avenue leading to the Batasan complex.
Michael Varcas
No barriers between cops, protesters during SONA
Non Alquitran (The Philippine Star) - July 16, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — There would be no shipping containers and barbed wire to separate protesters and anti-riot policemen during the third State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Duterte on July 23, a police official said yesterday.

Chief Supt. Guillermo Eleazar, director of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) said they wanted to do away with the unsightly view of shipping containers and barbed wire blocking portions of Commonwealth Avenue leading to the Batasan complex.

Eleazar said they would allow protesters to occupy IBP Road which, goes directly to the House of Representatives in the Batasan complex.

Eleazar pointed out the possibility that the President would again climb the stage and join the protesters, as he did in his earlier SONA.

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Oscar Albayalde has yet to decide where the militant and left-leaning groups would be allowed to stage their rally but the possibility that Duterte would again climb the protesters’ stage is included in their security preparations.

Eleazar said he had talked with leaders of different militant and left-leaning groups but no agreement was reached.

“There is no set of guidelines that was established in our meeting but the important thing is that we are talking, unlike in SONA of former president Aquino (where) both sides were not talking so violence erupted between the two sides despite the deployment of container vans and barbed wires,” Eleazar said.

Eleazar said he and the leaders of various groups would meet again prior to the SONA so guidelines could be established to prevent violent confrontation.

More than 6,000 anti-riot policemen would be deployed to secure the SONA. They would undergo a seminar on human rights to teach them how to properly handle militant protesters, Eleazar said.

“We would teach our anti-riot personnel the do’s and don’ts of handling protesters during President Duterte’s SONA for the event to be generally peaceful,” Eleazar said.

He said he would also invite representatives of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) or the NCRPO’s human rights officers to conduct seminars on the 13 sub-task groups created to secure the SONA.

Eleazar added they would also invite CHR representatives to come with the 13 sub-task groups during the SONA to ensure that human rights of the protesters are respected.

GUILLERMO ELEAZAR
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