• Up to 15,000 protesters to rally
    on Duterte SONA — police


    Between 10,000 and 15,000 protesters are expected to hold a rally near the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City as President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his second State of the Nation Address on July 24, the Metro Manila Police Office said on Tuesday.

    Police Chief Oscar Albayalde said 6,000 policemen would be deployed in the area to prevent the outbreak of violence.

    “We are already prepared for the upcoming second SONA of the President. We have conducted dialogues already with different stakeholders, with our fellow Filipinos from the militant groups and of course with barangay (village) officials that will be affected in the Batasan,” he told reporters.

    For this year’s SONA, Albayalde said protesters would be allowed to stay 15 to 20 meters from the south gate of the House of Representatives where President Rodrigo Duterte, Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo, Cabinet officials and lawmakers both from the Senate and the House would make their entrance.

    “They can set their mobile platform and that’s around nearer by 15 to 20 meters and we expect that they will be plenty of them, about 12,000 to 15,000, that’s according to them, that is how [militant groups]would estimate it,” Albayalde said.

    He said police have been asked to exercise maximum tolerance as in 2016 and would not be holding batons and shields as requested by Philippine National Police Chief Ronald de la Rosa. DEMPSEY REYES



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