Cops to be ‘considerate’ to Sona protesters
MANILA, Philippines — The police would be considerate to protesters during President Rodrigo Dutertes’s upcoming State of the Nation Address (Sona), but they would not tolerate violations of the guidelines in conducting protests, National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Maj. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said on Monday.
In a chance interview at Camp Crame, Eleazar said he is scheduled to meet with leaders of militant groups in the next few days to come up with agreements in conducting protests during Duterte’s fourth Sona on July 22.
“The police are very considerate but we will be firm on our stand [that] once na nag-violate sila sa kasunduan (they violate the agreement), then we will do our thing which is to disperse them kung kinakailangan (if needed),” he said.
Eleazar said the police would consider the request of the groups on locations where they want to stage protests in accordance with security plans, which would be discussed in their meeting.
“Kapag mayroong pag-uusap, most likely mayroong kasunduan. Kapag mayroong kasunduan, mayroong panuntunan na ilalatag at may panuntunan na dapat sundin,” he said.
(If there is a discussion, there will be agreements. If there will be agreements, there will be guidelines to be laid down and followed.)
According to Eleazar, around 15,000 police officers and force multipliers will be deployed within Metro Manila to enforce security operations during the Sona.
He said this includes 9,000 personnel in Quezon City where the Batasang Pambansa Complex is located, while the rest will be deployed in other parts of Metro Manila.
He also said there is no threat being monitored for the Sona, but the NCRPO continues to coordinate with concerned police units to deter any possible attacks, especially after the fatal bombings at a military camp in Indanan, Sulu on June 28.
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