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6,000 policemen from Metro Manila will secure Duterte’s SONA

THE National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) will deploy at least 6,000 policemen to secure peace and order during President Rodrigo Duterte’s third State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 23, according to Chief Supt. Guillermo Eleazar, NCRPO regional director on Wednesday.

“At least 6,000 will be deployed by the PNP (Philippine National Police). That is the minimum number that we will deploy but as we go along, we’re going to see if we need to add more,” Eleazar said in a press briefing on Wednesday afternoon.

The policemen will come from all districts in Metro Manila unlike in the past when lawmen from Central Luzon and Calabarzon were also deployed, Eleazar said.

Eleazar said authorities have been meeting to draft contingency plans for the SONA this year, especially in areas around the Batasang Pambansa Complex in Quezon City where the President will deliver his speech.

Eleazar admitted that it would be a challenge to monitor the anti and pro-Duterte groups.

“One of our challenges is where do we put these protesters so that they will not clash and cause a problem,” he said in Filipino.

Policemen will exercise maximum tolerance during the protests unless these become threats to peace and security.

Eleazar also reminded foreigners that they were not allowed to join the protests.

“While we welcome you (foreigners) here, definitely you should not join protests which is against the law if there is such thing,” he said.

The PNP also invited representatives from the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to ensure that the rights of the rallyists would be respected.

Eleazar said that the CHR could also serve as “unbiased defenders” from critics. ROY NARRA

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