The President’s security force said on Friday that it is all set to handle the last State the Nation Address (SONA) of President Rodrigo R. Duterte, saying stricter rules would be enforced during the annual activity.
The Presidential Security Guard (PSG) said that it had created a task force as early as May “for early planning and preparation with regard to security” for the annual presidential address.
“With less than a week to go, a series of security and inter-agency meetings, to include ocular and site inspections have already been conducted in close coordination with involved government and security agencies, counterparts and stakeholders,” it said in a statement.
“Given the COVID-19 situation, health security protocols will be strictly enforced, while minimizing the number of attendees inside the plenary,” it said.
The Batasang Pambansa Complex will be locked down from Friday to Sunday in preparation for Mr. Duterte’s last SONA on Monday, July 26.
Meanwhile, progressive coalition Bagong Alyansa Makabayan slammed the Quezon City Police District’s denial of their request to hold a physical protest along Commonwealth Ave. during the SONA.
“The QCPD has no authority to approve or deny a rally permit,” it said in a statement. “That [authority] belongs to the LGU.”
The post-EDSA Constitution does not suspend the right of Filipinos to protest even during a pandemic, it added.
“We wouldn’t be protesting this much if it weren’t for Duterte wanting to stay in power beyond 2022,” it said. “It’s Duterte who is forcing people to protest during this pandemic.” — Kyle Aristophere Atienza