THE Philippine National Police (PNP) on Thursday recorded a “generally peaceful” situation in the country as President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Romualdez Marcos Jr. took his oath as the 17th Commander-in-Chief amid very tight security in and around the National Museum in Manila.
There were a number of recorded protest rallies far from the inaugural site as early as Wednesday, although they all ended up without any untoward incident, reports sent to PNP Officer-in-Charge (PNP-OIC) Lieutenant General Vicente D. Danao Jr.
Late afternoon Wednesday, a small group of anti-government protesters picketed in front of the Supreme Court (SC) and stayed overnight.
Around 9:00 a.m., over 100 members of Kilusang Mayo Uno, Courage, Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, and Karapatan converged at Plaza Miranda in Quiapo where they aired their sentiments.
Manila Police District (MPD) Director Brig. Gen. Leo M. Francisco said their constant dialog with the groups’ leaders led to the peaceful rally in the area.
The protesters originally planned to hold a rally in Liwasang Bonifacio but changed their minds and went to Plaza Miranda.
At the Bantayog ng mga Bayani along Quezon Avenue, Akbayan members numbering to around 150 conducted a short program.
The PNP, however, said there were no serious threats to the national event. “We have not monitored any credible, serious threat,” said PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo.
As it turned out, all PNP clockwork preparations bore fruit as the inaugural ended peacefully.
Members of the Bicol, Central Luzon, and Calabarzon (Cavite/Laguna/Batangas/Rizal/Quezon) police forces this week intensified their border checkpoints to prevent the possibility that New People’s Army (NPA) rebels and their supporters would try to infiltrate Metro Manila and disrupt the event.
The PNP also made similar preparations in Davao City as former President Duterte was scheduled to fly there and be welcomed by his supporters.
Police ensured that the public will wear face masks to prevent the event from becoming a COVID-19 superspreader.
Lt. Gen. Danao earlier urged groups planning to stage mass actions in the City of Manila on June 30 to cancel their activity, although he said that if they insist, they will be allowed to hold the public assembly in the City’s Freedom parks.
“Our mantra is not to curtail the freedom of expression and the right to peaceably assemble, but the same constitutional rights should not be abused, leading to acts of violence and disorder,” the top cop said in a press statement.
According to him, the PNP will not allow mass actions and public assemblies to be held near the event venue at the National Museum.
Outgoing Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo M. Año earlier said they are fully aware of a plan by the CPP/NPA/NDF to disrupt the event and would not allow the CTGs – or “communist terrorist groups” to allegedly “embarrass” the new government.
“They will try to embarrass the new government, maghihiyawan, burn effigies pero prepared tayo sa mga situations nay an. It’s more on trying to embarrass our new leaders,” Sec. Año said.
National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Director Major Gen. Felipe R. Natividad said they activated the “Task Force Manila Shield” to secure the event.
The task force comprises some 15,000 personnel from the PNP, the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines), the Philippine Coast Guard, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), local government units, and other force multipliers.