Police to exercise maximum tolerance during Sona
Police will exercise maximum tolerance for those who will stage protests during President Marcos’ second State of the Nation Address (Sona) on July 24, Philippine National Police chief Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr. assured.
While Acorda did not yet disclose the number of police personnel to be deployed as part of Sona security, he said it would just be enough to secure the annual event.
“We will come up with a minimum requirement first. We will adjust the numbers if necessary. But as much as possible, we don’t want it to be an overkill,” he told reporters in Camp Crame on Monday.
“We don’t want the streets to be affected by traffic congestion. It should be business as usual, except that people will be listening to the message of the President,” he added.
Acorda said National Capital Region Police Office director Maj. Gen. Edgar Alan Okubo will be the ground commander of Sona security.
During the President’s first Sona last year, almost 22,000 police officers and force multipliers were deployed—higher than the record-breaking more than 18,000 security personnel tasked to secure Mr. Marcos’ inauguration the month before.
On whether rallies will be allowed near the Batasang Pambansa Complex in Quezon City, where the President is set to deliver his address, Acorda said there would be designated areas for these.
“We have certain limitations on where to hold protests,” he added, noting that it would depend on the local governments, especially of Quezon City’s, if they would grant rally permits to groups.
Brig. Gen. Limuel Obon, PNP Human Rights Affairs Office director, said police officers who would be deployed in protest areas would not carry firearms.
He said the PNP was in “constant communication and coordination” with the Commission on Human Rights to ensure that the rights of the public to freedom of expression and to gather peacefully would not be violated. INQ