By Martin Sadongdong
The Philippine National Police (PNP) announced on Monday afternoon that the protests staged by various groups on President Duterte’s third State of the Nation Address (SONA) went generally peaceful and orderly.
PNP chief, Director General Oscar Albayalde said that no untoward incident nor complaint was monitored at the advance mobile command post situated along Commonwealth Avenue where anti-Duterte protesters staged their own “United People’s SONA.”
Meanwhile, Chief Superintendent Guillermo Eleazar, National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) director and Security Task Force (STF) SONA commander, said that as of 4:30 p.m., the number of rallyists peaked at 15,000 for anti- while 7,050 for pro-Duterte protesters.
The pro-Duterte rallyists staged their own protest along Batasan Road to express their support to the President.
“[Situation is] generally quite and peaceful at the vicinity of House of Representatives (HOR),” Eleazar said.
Eleazar also thanked participants from both pro-and anti-Duterte parties as he stated they followed the rules they set for the peaceful conduct of SONA protests.
“Basically, they followed all the rules that we have agreed upon including the places where they are only allowed to stage their rallies and our cops no longer have to mobilize to caution them. Thank you,” Eleazar said in Filipino.
“Thank you also to all PNP personnel who rendered service for the successful conduct of this activity,” he added.
Eleazar said all the protesters were only allowed to stage their programs up to 6:30 p.m. but said he is willing to let them extend for a few more hours until they finish.
On the other hand, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) Secretary-General Renato Reyes said the United People’s SONA that they organized was “officially the biggest SONA rally under the Duterte regime as they claimed their number reached 40,000 while occupying the Commonwealth Avenue in front of Saint Peter Parish up to Ever Gotesco.
As of 6 p.m., protests from both parties were still on-going.