No security threats for SONA – Eleazar

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The Metro Manila Police chief says more than 8,000 police officers have been deployed in Quezon City.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 22) — The Philippine National Police expects President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) to proceed smoothly and safely as authorities have not received any security threats, the capital region’s chief said.

Metro Manila police Chief Major General Guillermo Eleazar said 14,000 police officers have been deployed all over Metro Manila. Eight thousand of these officers are stationed and ready to secure Quezon City where the SONA will take place. Duterte is expected to deliver his speech at the Batasan Pambansa at 4 p.m.

Ang mga pulis natin nakabantay sa kapaligiran at sila (rallyists) naman ay nandoon sa mga lugar kung saan doon lang sila magsasagawa ng mga demonstrasyon and kilos-suporta and the protesta,” Eleazar told CNN Philippines’ New Day. ”We don’t see any problem ang nakikita natin sa pagdaraos ng SONAng ito.”

[Translation: Our policemen are guarding the surroundings while the rallyists will be in the area designated for their demonstrations and protests. We don’t see any problem in the conduct of the SONA.]

Eleazar appealed to the public to take alternate routes from Commonwealth Avenue to prevent heavy traffic. He added that there may be signal jamming when the President arrives at the venue.

Around 35,000 protesters are expected to converge in front of the St Petrer Parish Church along Commonwealth as the President delivers his speech. Protesters are are only allowed about two kilometers from the Batasan Pambansa while pro-government rallies will be held near the Sandiganbayan along Batasan Road.

The chief said they have also prepared contingency plans in coordination with the rallyists to ensure safety. This especially after eight people have died due to a suicide bombing last month.

This will be Duterte’s fourth SONA. He is currently halfway his six-year term.