SONA security tightened after communist attacks: NCRPO

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MANILA – The police and military have set stricter security measures for President Rodrigo Duterte’s second State of the Nation Address (SONA), following a string of attacks by communist rebels, police said Sunday.

Authorities have relayed the security protocol to activist groups that are set to mount protest during Monday’s SONA , said National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Director Oscar Albayalde.

“Nakiusap din po tayo na on their ranks, kailangan po nilang bantayan kasi baka malusutan tayo.,” Albayalde said in a phone interview with DZMM.

“Alam naman po natin ngayon na nagkaproblema sa peace talks at may problema tayo sa CPP-NPA-NDF (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front) kaya kailangan po talagang mahigpit ang pagbabantay natin sa kanilang hanay.”

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Albayalde however clarified that intelligence units have not monitored any threat to the SONA so far.

Duterte last week said he has decided to abandon peace negotiations with the NDF after the NPA, its armed wing, attacked state troops in several provinces.

Due to this development, 6,300 policemen and 300 soldiers will be deployed to secure the SONA, more than last year’s 4000-strong contingent, said Albayalde.

Administration critics, he said, will be allowed to protest Monday at the corner of Batasan and Sinagtala roads, about 900 meters away from the legislative complex where Duterte will deliver his SONA.

At least 27,000 Duterte supporters meanwhile are expected to converge in front of the Civil Service Commission (CSC), some 1.2 kilometers away from anti-administration activists.

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Policemen tasked to manage the protesters will not carry shields, batons or firearms, reiterated Albayalde.

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