PNP ‘likely’ to inspect belongings of protesters on day of Sona
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) said Thursday it will “most probably” conduct random inspections of belongings of protesters who will stage rallies near the Batasang Pambansa Complex on the day President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his fourth State of the Nation Address (Sona).
While the PNP has not monitored any terror threat for Duterte’s fourth Sona on Monday, PNP chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde said the police will be more strict in implementing security measures during the event, especially after the incident in Indanan, Sulu on June 28, when two suspected suicide bombers detonated explosives at a military camp.
“Most probably, the NCRPO [National Capital Region Police Office] will be conducting random inspections on the backpacks of participants, ng protesters doon [on the protesters there]. For their own safety ‘yung ginagawa nating ito [We are doing this for their own safety],” he said in a press conference at Camp Crame.
Aside from random inspections, Albayalde said the PNP will also field intelligence monitoring teams, composed of personnel not in police uniforms, at rally sites to monitor and prevent attackers from blending in with the crowd.
The intelligence teams will complement the uniformed personnel who will be deployed within the venue. Around 15,000 police officers and force multipliers will be deployed within Metro Manila on Monday, including around 9,000 in Quezon City where the Batasang Pambansa is located.
Albayalde, however, admitted that he cannot say that the preparations of the PNP is “fool-proof,” but assured the PNP is now 100-percent prepared for the Sona.
He explained that the PNP is intensifying its intelligence information gathering for the event to ensure the safety of the public and at the same time not to hamper the freedom of expressions of the protesters. /jpv
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