Police to meet with LGUs, protest leaders on SONA mass gatherings

Published July 24, 2020, 5:58 PM

by Martin Sadongdong

The National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) will meet different stakeholders over the weekend to discuss new protocols that will be imposed on mass gatherings, including street protests, on the fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Duterte on Monday, July 27.


Police Major General Debold Sinas, NCRPO Chief, said Friday that he is set to talk to the local government unit of Quezon City and different protest leaders after the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) released a memorandum order about the enforcement of ban on mass gatherings on SONA.

Citing Resolution No. 57 from the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF), the DILG order dated Thursday reminded law enforcers to enforce quarantine rules on the day of SONA which include prohibition of mass gatherings.

“There might be changes with the issuance of the new guidelines,” Sinas said.

“We will talk with all the parties involved since we only received the new guidelines yesterday (Thursday),” he added.

IATF Resolution No. 57 states that “mass gatherings, such as, but not limited to movie screenings, sporting events, and other entertainment activities, community assemblies, and non-essential work gatherings, are prohibited” subject only to “very limited exceptions.”

As such, Sinas encouraged protesters to hold an online rally instead of going out in the streets and exposing themselves to possible coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection.

“I wish they could just do it online so we won’t have a problem,” said Sinas, who had been criticized for allegedly violating quarantine rules by holding a “mañanita” birthday party in May.

According to the Philippine National Police, about 5,000 cops will be deployed in Metro Manila to ensure peace and order on the day of SONA.

The military will also send an augmentation force to assist the police.

Activist leaders including Bayan Sectetary General Renato Reyes earlier talked with Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte to seek permission to hold their street protests.