PNP to SONA protesters: Avoid mass gathering, do protests online
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Monday urged groups planning to conduct physical protest rallies during President Duterte’s fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) to avoid mass gathering and just do their protests online.
PNP Chief Gen. Archie Gamboa made the appeal that while protests are generally allowed during the President’s SONA, “these are not ordinary times.”
“Nakikiusap kami na kung pwede (to) just do it online because these are not ordinary times. We have a specific situation which is itong pandemic,” Gamboa said in an online press briefing.
“We hope everybody would cooperate because it’s not only for our own good but also for you and for others lalo na sa prohibition ng mass gathering,” he added.
Duterte is set to hold his fifth Sona next week Monday, July 27, at the Batasang Pambansa Complex in Quezon City.
The police is set to first hold a dialogue with groups to urge them no longer conduct physical protest actions.
As in the previous SONA, personnel from the Quezon City Police District and a contingent from the National Capital Region Police Office would be securing the area during and prior to the presidential address.
During the event, physical attendees will only be limited to a maximum of 50 people, who will all be subjected to COVID-19 rapid testing, according to Senate President Vicente Sotto III.
Twenty-five seats will be reserved for the executive department, 13 for the House of Representatives and 12 for the Senate.
Aside from executive officials and lawmakers, the 50 people to be allowed inside the venue will also include security officers as well as House and Senate staffers.