Metro police to go on full alert Friday ahead of SONA

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Chief Superintendent Marcelo Garbo Jr. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—The National Capital Region Police office said Tuesday that it is set to implement a full alert status on Friday as part of its security preparations for President Benigno Aquino III’s State of the Nation Address next week.

Speaking to reporters, Chief Superintendent Marcelo Garbo Jr., newly appointed NCRPO regional director, said at least 5,000 police officers from the region will be deployed to maintain law and order near the Batasang Pambansa complex in Quezon City during Aquino’s SONA on July 22.

The same number of police officers took part in maintaining security work in last year’s SONA.

But Garbo said they might increase police deployment as the number of protesters for this year’s SONA could swell.

Chief Superintendent Richard Albano, Quezon City Police district director, said 15,000 to 18,000 militants might join SONA-related mass actions.

Albano attributed this to the latest pressing issues, such as the demolition of illegal settlers.

For his part, Albano said about 3,000 to 4,000 QCPD police officers would be deployed for SONA.

Threat not serious

Garbo said intelligence reports showed possible threats on SONA Day, but he was tight-lipped about the details.

When pressed, Garbo clarified that it is not really related to specific terrorist groups, nor it is related to crime groups.

“The threat that I said is in reference to the number of demonstrators. The public has nothing to worry about,” he said, but added that authorities will continue to monitor and weight the level of threat.

“We always assume when we plan [that] there is always a threat. What matter is how we assess the kind of threat, and how we respond to it,” the NCRPO chief said.

He also said police officers will enforce maximum tolerance in dealing with protesters.

“All our actions will be within the police operational procedures and human rights policies,” Garbo said.

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