PNP appeals to SONA protest groups: Just do it online
While they respect people’s rights to free speech, PNP spokesman Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said holding public rallies during a pandemic is counter-productive and will only expose participants to the virus.
pna.gov.ph
PNP appeals to SONA protest groups: Just do it online
Emmanuel Tupas (The Philippine Star) - July 19, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) yesterday appealed to members of cause-oriented groups not to hold protest actions during President Duterte’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 27 to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

While they respect people’s rights to free speech, PNP spokesman Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said holding public rallies during a pandemic is counter-productive and will only expose participants to the virus.

“We would rather they avoid mass gathering altogether and just conduct protests online,” he said in a phone interview.

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) secretary general Renato Reyes said they will hold mass actions despite the threat posed by COVID-19.

To avoid getting infected by the virus, Reyes called on participants to wear face masks, face shields and use disinfectants.

He also urged protesters to observe physical distancing rules in their activities.

Should the protesters decide to proceed with their activities, Banac urged them to secure a permit from the local government units (LGUs) where they will hold their rallies, adding they should respect quarantine guidelines being implemented by the LGUs.

“If they are planning to hold protests, they are very much welcome but we appeal to the organizers to secure local permits prior to the event,” he said.

The National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), for its part, said it will implement all health and safety protocols to ensure Duterte’s safety when he delivers his SONA at the Batasang Pambansa on July 27.

NCRPO director Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas said only 50 persons are allowed at the plenary hall so that physical distancing and other safety protocols can be observed.

“We are all obligated to wear face masks,” he said during a dialogue with stakeholders in Quezon City.

Sinas urged demonstrators to observe safety protocols set by the health department to avoid getting infected with COVId-19. Rhodina Villanueva

PNP SONA
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