AT least 3,000 policemen will be deployed by the Manila Police District (MPD) in various known “protest zones” in Manila on Monday, July 26, in connection with the slated last State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Rodrigo Duterte even as the “no permit, no rally” policy will be enforced.
According to public information officer Capt. Philipp Jose Ines, MPD Director PBGen. Leo Francisco has ordered the deployment of an ample number of uniformed policemen at the Chino Roces bridge (Mendiola), Liwasang Bonifacio, US Embassy and the Supreme Court areas, among others.
Despite the absence of any threat to national security, Francisco also ordered that the MPD be placed under full alert status.
In an interview, Francisco said he had directed Task Force Commanders to prepare for any possible scenario as he also dissuaded rallyists from going out in view of the threat being posed by the Delta variant, saying they can air their sentiments virtually.
Francisco said that while the “no permit, no rally” policy will be in force, the police will still be exercising maximum tolerance.
He said the MPD deployment is part of the 15,000 personnel that will be fielded on orders of National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief PMGen. Vicente Danao Jr., who is spearheading the security preparations and deployment plans for SONA 2021.
Francisco also echoed Danao’s stance on rallies that while there is the freedom of expression, it is important to always take consideration the Inter-Agency Task Force rules.
Danao has appealed for the public to stay home instead of joining rallies “because it can be a cause of wide spreaders lalo na ngayon with DELTA variant, na very dangerous. Kaya kami po ay nakikiusap sa lahat na kung wala naman kayong ibang gagawin, siguro po magstay at home na lang. Lalong lalo na ngayon, baka magkahawaan pa tayo lalo niyan.”
The NCRPO assured that contingency plans are there for any incident although dialogues have also been conducted with the different community leaders, stakeholders and civil society leaders.
“We are also deploying the use of body-worn cameras para po mamonitor natin yung lahat ng movement lalong lalo na yung sa security aspect. Mas makikita natin yung movement ng mga tao at mas matututukan natin yung placement ng kanilang deployment. This is to ensure na hindi tayo malulusutan ng any suspicious person na maaaring gumawa ng kalokohan,” Danao added.