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Nation

NCRPO all set for Duterte’s last SONA

Ralph Edwin Villanueva - The Philippine Star
NCRPO all set for Duterteâs last SONA
Workers clean the Batasang Pambansa complex ahead of the last State of the Nation Address of President Duterte today.
Boy Santos

MANILA, Philippines — The National Capital Region Police Office is all set for the sixth and last State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Duterte today, NCRPO chief Maj. Gen. Vicente Danao Jr. said yesterday.

Danao said “more holistic and extensive security measures” would be enforced during the SONA amid the threat of the highly infectious COVID-19 Delta variant.

“Strict health and safety protocols will be implemented,” he said.

Danao said a total of 15,174 public safety and security forces would be deployed from Welcome Rotonda, UP Diliman, Tandang Sora, Ever Gotesco to IBP Road as well as neighboring borders.

Police, soldiers as well as personnel of the Bureau of Fire Protection, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, Philippine Coast Guard, National Intelligence Coordinating Agency, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines would be deployed around the Batasang Pambansa Complex.

Danao said they have not monitored any security threat to Duterte’s last SONA.

Drones and aircraft will not be allowed to fly around the complex, according to the NCRPO.

Danao said ports and waterways would also be secured to prevent any untoward incident.

He urged protesters not to hold mass gatherings that could become superspreaders of the virus.

Maximum tolerance

Philippine National Police chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar ordered PNP members to exercise maximum tolerance during the protest actions.

Eleazar directed police officers to hold their temper and remain professional in enforcing security and health protocols.

Eleazar said no problem would occur as long as the protesters and police accord respect to one another.

He urged protesters to hold their activities online as more local cases of the Delta variant were detected by health authorities.

Protests

Activist groups will push through with their protest rallies today along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City.

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan secretary general Renato Reyes thanked Mayor Joy Belmonte for allowing the protesters to conduct activities along portions of Commonwealth Avenue.

The Quezon City Police District (QCPD) had denied the group’s request for a rally permit, citing the threat of the COVID-19 Delta variant.

“We thank the good mayor for her intervention and for respecting our constitutional right to hold peaceful protests during the pandemic,” Reyes said.

Reyes and other leaders of militant groups held a meeting with Belmonte and QCPD director Brig. Gen. Antonio Yarra on Saturday regarding the protest rallies.

Belmonte granted the request of the groups to march along a portion of Commonwealth Avenue, provided that protesters will not extend beyond the intersection of Tandang Sora Avenue.

“We will assemble in UP Diliman at 9 a.m. and march toward Commonwealth Avenue,” Reyes said.

Reyes had assured authorities that the protesters would observe physical distancing measures and other COVID protocols.

A 2D effigy which depicts Duterte as a gecko holding on to Malacañang will be burned by the protesters during the rally. The effigy was created by the UGATLahi Artists Collective.

Members of the fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas are set to join the rally to denounce the administration’s supposed inaction on Chinese occupation in the West Philippine Sea. – Neil Jayson Servallos, Elizabeth Marcelo

SONA 2021
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