Police to motorists: Avoid roads in Batasan area on SONA day

MANILA Police urged the public to avoid the roads near the area of the Batasan complex in Quezon City on Monday, when President Rodrigo R. Duterte delivers his third State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Speaking to newsmen at the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) headquarters in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City on Thursday, NCRPO head, Chief Supt. Guillermo Eleazar, said continued dialogue with groups planning to hold protest rallies on Monday would hopefully be orderly and peaceful.

"Kung wala rin naman mahalagang pupuntahan, mapapayuhan namin ang ating mga kababayan na umiwas na sa mga lugar na ito (If the trip can be put off, we advise motorists to stay away from the area)," Eleazar told newsmen.

In his meeting with leaders of groups planning to hold protests on Wednesday, Eleazar said the police have committed that no barbed wire, as well as container van barricades, would be put up and that civil disturbance management contingents would not bear firearms.

Eleazar said the groups' leaders would not comment on the estimated number of possible demonstrators but added that the number may be as many as those in previous years.

About 7,000 policemen will be deployed for Monday's SONA Security Task Force Kapayapaan, consisting of 13 Site Sub-Task Groups.

Leaders of cause-oriented groups have been requested to identify their marshals by wearing identifying arm bands for easy coordination with PNP counterparts in cases of eventualities.

A representative of the Commission on Human Rights, Jolly Torres, was also present during the meeting between police and leaders of different organizations.

Bayan Secretary General Renato Reyes said unlike the two previous SONAs of the President, he expects more of their members to join their protest. However, he declined to give any figure.

Also present during the dialogue were Quezon City Bureau of Fire Protection Chief Senior Supt. Manuel Manuel; Rasti Deliso of Sanlakas; Jammel Jaymalin, executive officer of the Quezon City Muslim Consultative Council; Dexter Cardenas of the Department of Public Order and Safety; chairmen of barangays Commonwealth and Batasan; representatives of Barangay Payatas and Holy Spirit; and a number of religious leaders. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency