By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan
MANILA – The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Monday said it has yet to detect security threats to President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s second State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 24.
Similarly, the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) has yet to receive any application from groups that will hold protest actions but it anticipates the presence of various groups on the day of the SONA.
“As of yesterday (Sunday), so far wala pa naman tayong narerereceive (we have not received anything yet) any credible and serious threat,” PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo told reporters in a press briefing held at Camp Crame in Quezon City.
Fajardo said the PNP will conduct simulation exercises, communication exercises, walk through, clearing operations and contingency planning in case there are protest rallies.
The PNP spokesperson urged groups to hold their actions at the Quezon Memorial Circle, the designated freedom park in the city.
In case groups will decide to march from the University of the Philippines-Diliman Campus to the Luzon Avenue flyover along Commonwealth Avenue, Fajardo assured maximum tolerance and will allow them to express themselves.
Meanwhile, QCPD Director Brig. Gen. Nicolas Torre III said they have conducted a simulation of what could transpire during the SONA, including a possible face-off with protesters.
“Basically, this is a refresher of our crowd disturbance management technique and tactics. Kasama na dyan ang (including) equipment check, updating the knowledge at batas kung paano i-aaply itong (and laws on how to apply these) techniques and tactics in case may mga (there are) untoward incidents na mangyari (that may happen),” Torre said.
There will be around 5,000 police officers that will be deployed at the House of Representatives and the Batasang Pambansa complex on July 24, half of them from the QCPD.
Torre likewise assured that maximum tolerance will be exercised.
“[It’s] a maximum tolerance. We always hope for the best and prepare the worst. Kung pwede pagbigyan ang ating mga kababayan na mag pahayag ng damdamin (We will allow them to express their sentiments) as long as it does not violate the law and done within [the] bounds of law. We will always exert maximum tolerance,” said Torre.
The PNP earlier said more than 22,000 policemen and augmentation forces will be tapped to secure the President’s SONA. (PNA)