The House of Representatives is bracing for threats from terrorists, drug personalities and small-time criminals that may disrupt President Rodrigo Duterte’s second State of the Nation Address (SONA).
House Sgt. at Arms Roland Detabali and House Secretary General Cesar Pareja said the chamber intensified its security preparations for the major event on July 24 as the military has yet to clear Marawi City of Maute terrorists.
“Definitely, the security measures in place are heightened, not only because of the martial law in Mindanao implemented to defeat ISIS-linked terrorists [of Maute]group, but also because the President also accomplished a lot, especially on the war on drugs. There’s a threat, but it is not very serious,” Detabali told reporters.
“A lot of drug personalities lost money, maybe they can pay people to mastermind chaos, or maybe there will be volunteers to start a turmoil. That is what we are preparing for,” he added.
Pareja said the Batasang Pambansa will be on lockdown three days before the SONA. The delivery of food and equipment will be restricted, as well as the entry of visitors.
“We really need to be vigilant because if something bad happens, it would be a shame not only for the government but also for the rest of Filipino citizens,” Detabali said.
“What we want is total prevention, because anything can happen. Even small groups can wreak havoc. These criminals are stubborn,” Detabali said.
He said the House continues to coordinate with law enforcement agencies as it finalized security plans for the SONA.