6,000 cops deployed at SONA environment

Published July 23, 2018, 12:30 PM

by iManila Developer

By Alexandria Dennise San Juan

More than 6,000 police personnel were deployed as early as 4 a.m. on Monday for the third State of the Nation Address of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Police force of the PNP Highway Patrol Group (PPNP-HPG) set out as they conduct a security simulation along Batasan road for the 3rd State Of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte tomorrow, yesterday. (PHOTO/ ALVIN KASIBAN)

Quezon City Police District Director Superintendent Joselito Esquivel Jr., who also headed Task Group Quezon, said that the full deployment of the members of the Philippine National Police started as early as 4 a.m.

“Kagabi, after 5 p.m., nakadeploy na kami. Ang skeletal deployment, 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. ang full deployment,” Esquivel said in an interview.

The QCPD Chief said there are a total of 6,065 police officers deployed to secure the area of Batasan Pambansa Complex where the SONA will be held, and along IBP Road and Commonwealth Avenue where programs of pro-administration and protesters will be conducted.

Aside from the police forces, Esquivel said there are around 500 members of the Armed Forces who were also deployed.

According to Esquivel, PNP personnel will continue to observe maximum tolerance in dealing with cause-oriented groups until the program ends.

Esquivel also led routine inspections in the different Sub Task Groups (STGs) deployed in the vicinity of the Batasang Pambansa Complex on Sunday night following a send-off ceremony at the QCPD Headquarters in Camp Karingal.

Aside from security personnel, members of the Civil Disturbance Management (CDM) were also standby near the St. Peter Church, where the demonstrators will hold their protest program, as agreed upon by the PNP and leaders of the militant groups in a recent dialogue.

Meanwhile, National Capital Region Police Office Director Guillermo Eleazar, who was also monitoring in the area, said that police personnel assisted protesters to set up their stage in front of St. Peter Parish Church.

At least 10,000 protesters are expected to attend the rally dubbed as “United People’s SONA.”

Meanwhile, PNP Chief Oscar Albayalde also arrived at the area to personally check the police deployment.

Rev. Fr. Superintendent Ronilo Datu officiated at the blessing of policemen, as well as members of the media, and prayed for a peaceful and orderly SONA.

Prior to the rally, Eleazar announced that police elements to be deployed to deal with protesters will be unarmed, but that they put up contigency plans in case untowardards incidents happen.

“Kagaya ng arrangement for the last two SONAs, walang barbwires, walang container vans, at wala ring firearms ang ating mga CDM members,” he said.

A medical evacuation plan was also prepared by the task group wherein five medical stations were established along Commonwealth Avenue and IBP Road.

The police officials said they are expecting a peaceful SONA as they held dialogues with protest groups leaders and stakeholders before the SONA.