Police on full alert status for Duterte's SONA

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The police in Metro Manila are on full alert status starting Saturday in preparation for President Rodrigo Duterte's first State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday.

Quezon City Police District (QCPD) Director S/Supt. Guillermo Eleazar said over 4,000 personnel from his district and more personnel from the National Capital Region Police Office will be deployed around the Batasang Pambansa Complex in Quezon City—as well as the roads heading there.

"We have 4,700 personnel. Kung tutuusin, napakarami na noon. Enough na yun. But the other personnel of NCRPO, may kanya-kanya din silang tasking e," said Eleazar.

He said there are last-minute preparations in the areas where protesters are expected to stage rallies near the Batasang Pambansa.

Eleazar said protesters may now gather 600 meters from Ever Gotesco Mall or beyond the St. Peter's Church along northbound of Commonwealth Avenue.

Related: SONA not a fashion show, dress code changed to business attire

He added they will not place container vans and razor wire to block protesters along Commonwealth Avenue — unlike in previous SONAs. However, he says police will still be prepared for possibly violent protests.

"Sa pagdami ng tao, mahirap i-control... Dapat handa tayo," he said.

MMDA's clearing operations ahead of SONA

Aside from peace and order preparations, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) carried out clearing operations along IBP Road and Commonwealth Avenue on Saturday morning.

This includes towing illegally-parked vehicles along the street where the convoy of President Duterte and other VIPs will pass.

MMDA Mabuhay Lane 1 Head Roldan Aban said the illegally-parked vehicles pose a threat to the safety of the President and other VIPs.

"Kung hahayaan po natin silang pumarada, parang hinayaan na din po natin yung may masasamang balak sa SONA ni Digong na gawin ang gusto nila. Example na lang po, ang kotse na to nakaparada dito, iwanan ng bomba, sumabog pagdaan ng mga VIP natin, ano pong mangyayari?" he said.

[Translation: If we allow them to park illegally, it is as if we’re letting them plot against Digong's SONA. For example, if a bomb is left inside this car and it goes off while a VIP is passing, what will happen?]

At least 26 vehicles were towed during the clearing operation.

Authorities said there is no imminent threat to the SONA on Monday. Quezon City police officials are optimistic, with the cooperation of all stakeholders, there will be a peaceful SONA inside and outside the Batasang Pambansa.