PNP tells groups planning SONA rallies: Ensure peaceful, COVID-safe protests

Published July 25, 2021, 3:32 PM

by Aaron Recuenco 

The Philippine National Police (PNP) called on the groups planning to stage protest actions on the 6th and last State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Duterte on Monday, July 26, to ensure that the rallies they would conduct would be peaceful and safe to the participants.

PNP chief Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar said that the safe conduct of demonstrations is necessary amid the threat of the Delta variant of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), adding that there was already a confirmation of local transmission while the number of infected of the Delta variant has been also increasing.

“Sa nakalipas na limang SONA ng ating Pangulong Duterte, maayos na naipakita ng inyong Philippine National Police ang pagrespeto sa karapatan ng ating mga kababayan na magsagawa ng mga kilos-protesta upang ipahayag ang kanilang saloobin (In the past five SONAs of President Duterte, the PNP was able to show that we were respecting the right of the people to hold protest actions)” said Eleazar.

“Sa darating na Lunes, walang pipigil sa inyo sa magsagawa ng mga rally subalit inaasahan namin na ito ay gagawin sa paraan na hindi naman aapak sa aming mandato na panatilihin ang kapayapaan, kaayusan at kaligtasan ng bawat isa lalo na at may kumpirmasyon na ng local transmission ng Delta variant ng COVID-19 (On Monday, no one will prevent you from holding rallies but we expect that you will do this in a way that will not step on our mandate to maintain peace and order and safety of everybody, especially that there was already a confirmation of local transmission of the Delta variant),” he added.

Eleazar said that as PNP personnel observe maximum tolerance, groups conducting mass protests should also police their ranks and ensure that they also respect the mandate of policemen to serve and protect.

According to Eleazar it would be to everyone’s benefit to maintain a safe and secure SONA.

Eleazar instructed police personnel to keep their tempers in check and remain professional, strictly observing maximum tolerance in dealing with groups staging mass actions.

Nevertheless, in the face of the COVID-19 Delta variant threat, Eleazar asked groups to seriously consider holding virtual activities in lieu of physical mass actions.