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PNP all set for SONA

July 23, 2021 Alfred P. Dalizon 274 views

THE Philippine National Police (PNP) is 100 percent prepared to secure the last State-of-the-Nation-Address (SONA) of President Duterte on Monday with officers on the ground under orders to exercise maximum tolerance in dealing with protesters who would refuse to comply with health protocols amid the pandemic, PNP chief General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar on Friday said.

According to the top cop, the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) headed by Major Gen. Vicente D. Danao Jr. has already finalized the security preparations and deployment plans for the President’s address taking into consideration the current COVID-19 situation in finalizing their security measures.

“Handang-handa na ang inyong Philippine National Police sa SONA ng ating Pangulong Duterte sa darating na Lunes. Nakalatag na ang mga security plan at nakaantabay na rin ang sufficient number ng ating kapulisan para sa deployment at iba pang contingency measures,” said Eleazar.

“Tiwala ako sa kakayahan ng ating Regional Director, Maj. Gen. Vicente Danao na ipatupad ang maayos at mapayapang SONA ng ating Pangulo na gaya ng mga nakaraan niyang SONA,” he added.

Some 15,000 police officers, members of other law enforcement agencies, local government units and PNP ‘force multipliers’ will be deployed to secure the Chief Executive’s SONA.

Eleazar said that some 11,500 policemen from the Quezon City Police District headed by Brigadier Gen. Antonio C. Yarra, the NCRPO and the other four Metro Manila police districts will be deployed during the event.

The rest will come from the Metro Manila Development Authority, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, Bureau of Fire Protection and other PNP ‘force multipliers’ including barangay security personnel and volunteers.

Danao and Yarra have held a series of consultation with leaders of different protest groups and appealed to them to fully cooperate with authorities.

Eleazar said that as arranged, the NCRPO will be using body-worn cameras (BWC) and alternative cellphone devices during the event as part of their effort to record the situation on the ground.

“Ang paalala ko lang po sa publiko ay iba ang situation ngayon. Me COVID-19 na hindi puwedeng biru-biruin, lalo na at me Delta Variant na. Iba po ang sitwasyon ngayon. While it is true na nadiyan palagi ang ating Karapatan, meron po tayong mga bagay na dapat alalahanin dahil po sa pandemic,” he said.

The PNP chief called on protest groups not to violate the law and see to it that they will only be conducting their rallies in designated freedom parks and provided they have rally permits from the different LGUs.

“Our policemen will be deployed to see to it that health protocols will be observed. They are under orders to exercise maximum tolerance however. Ang tried-and-tested formula lang po natin dito is please comply with health protocols. Sumunod po tayo dahil ayaw nating makahawa,” he said.

He also urged groups planning to stage mass actions on Monday to conduct their activities virtually or online.

“Sa ilan nating mga kababayan na patuloy pa ring nagpa-plano para sa isang rally, nagpapa-alala ang inyong PNP na lubha pang delikado ang ganitong klaseng pagtitipon lalo na at may kumpirmasyon na ng local transmission ng Delta variant ng COVID-19. Mas ligtas na makinig at manood na lang tayo ng SONA sa ating mga tahanan,” the PNP chief said.

Eleazar said they have not monitored any threat to the SONA but assured that all personnel are ready to respond to any eventuality.

He also lauded the NCRPO’s decision to use their BWCs to help monitor the movements of suspicious persons who may be planning to disrupt the SONA.

Danao said they will use bodycams in guarding the movement of expected anti-government protesters during the Monday event.

“We will also be deploying our personnel who are equipped with 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 said.

Danao spearheaded the security preparations and deployment plans for SONA 2021 with other senior NCRPO and QCPD officials in Camp Karingal the other day.

Also present during the meeting were representatives from the QC local government and other agencies involved in the security preparations.

“This is to guarantee that before, during and the aftermath of the SONA will go smoothly as planned since it will be more challenging than it was over the past few years due to the threat of the current health crisis.” Danao said.

According to the official, they have ready contingency plans if ever there will be trouble from the protesters during the event.

Already, the NCRPO have conducted dialogues with different community, civil society leaders and other stakeholders as part of their move to ensure a peaceful and orderly SONA.

“Mayroon din naman tayong tinatawag na freedom of expression pero siyempre let us always take consideration of the IATF rules 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,” Danao said.