Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa on Monday told policemen to be on alert and prepared, saying the “situation is fluid” as he talked about security preparations for President Rodrigo Duterte’s second State of the Nation Address (SONA).
“We have a big job ahead of us. Be ready for any contingency action that we may undertake in case of any problem. Huwag muna kayo umuwi, be sure na andyan pa kayo hangga’t matapos ang SONA,” Dela Rosa said during the flag-raising ceremony at the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame.
He told policemen that anything may happen but that he was hoping no violence will occur between his men and protesters for the duration of the SONA.
“You must be ready anytime. Masyadong fluid ang situation. Hindi natin alam so we have to continue hoping and praying na sana matapos itong SONA na walang violence na mangyari, walang masaktan both on our side and[on that] of the rallyists,” he said.
Dela Rosa disclosed that the PNP national headquarters is on full alert status.
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. on Sunday said protesters will use the event as a “show of defiance” to Duterte, different from last year’s friendly movement during the President’s first SONA.
“The mood will [be] different from last year’s hopeful tone, as we have seen how the Duterte regime has unfolded,” Reyes said.
Duterte is expected to start his address at the Batasan Pambansa Complex at 4 p.m. Reyes’ group, meanwhile, will start their program near the congressional compound at noon.
The National Capital Region Police Office said that at least 6,300 policemen will be deployed in and around the Batasan Pambansa Complex for the event.
Meanwhile, Dela Rosa also took the opportunity to remind policemen to pray for their fellow policemen killed in Marawi City and in the recent New People’s Army attacks.
He cited in particular the six policemen from Guihulngan, Negros Oriental, killed by NPA members in an ambush.
“We have to continue praying for our comrades in the field na palagi silang safe. It breaks my heart to hear news every now and then na meron na namang minalas na kasamahan natin,” he said.
“‘Yung chief of police, si Superintendent Arnel Arpon, Philippine National Police Academy Class 1998. Sayang, they are promising officers, minalas lang sa isang iglap, ubos sila,” he added.
He also cited a Special Action Force commando shot in the head by a sniper in Marawi City.
“Tinamaan sa ulo, patay, na-snipe doon sa Marawi, at merong tatlong wounded doon at heavy pa ang bakbakan hanggang ngayon. So let us continue to pray for our comrades in the field. While we are here relaxing at the national headquarters, ipagdasal natin na sila ay pangalagaan ng Poong Maykapal na walang mangyaring masama sa kanila,” he said.