Police: Tighter security on Duterte's 2nd SONA

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 9) — The Philippine National Police will implement tighter security measures during President Rodrigo Duterte's second State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 24.

Six thousand police personnel will secure different areas near the Batasan complex, more than the 4,000 deployed during Duterte's first SONA in 2016.

"We have enough (Civil Disturbance Management) personnel to cover this event," said National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Chief Oscar Albayalde in an interview.

The Metro Manila police said they are more than ready to secure the hundreds of VIPs that will go to the House of Representatives.

The Manila Police District will be in charge of securing the metro's crowded areas, to ensure no terrorist threats during the address.

Despite not having received any terrorist threats, Albayalde said it's better to be safe than sorry.

"Pero kung mayroon man, talagang ganoon. I think kailangan talagang paghandaan 'yan, although makita naman natin wala pa tayong equipment for those kinds of crises, 'yung mga ganoong insidente," he said.

[Translation: But if there are (threats), it's expected. We have to prepare for these, although we can see we still have no proper equipment to address those kinds of crises and incidents.]

Police gear will be stored in their trucks along with their guns and wooden canes to create a less confrontational  environment with the 5,000 protesters expected to flock to Quezon City.

Protesters will be allowed to march up until the front of the South gate of the Batasan Complex, nearer to the House Plenary hall where the President will deliver the address. This is the same set-up since Duterte's first SONA.

In previous administrations, demonstrations during the SONA were held up to the Sandiganbayan along Commonwealth Avenue.

But protesters may only occupy two lanes of Batasan Road's eastbound lane on the 24th, to pave the way for motorists and commuter traffic.

They are also anticipating that leftist groups have more grievances now than last year, such as martial law in Mindanao, and peace talks between the government and communists.

"Very peaceful 'yung last year kasi yung mga militante natin it's all for support of the President," Albayalde said. "Ngayon kasi may kaunting, medyo may kaunting most probably may issue kasi sila so there would be some sort of small resistance siguro."

[Translation: Last year's demonstrations were peaceful because our militants expressed all their support for the President. But now, the militants have an issue so maybe there would be some sort of small resistance.]

Albayalde assured they will observe maximum tolerance and uphold human rights of protesters at all costs.