PNP now on full alert for 2023 SONA

The Philippine National Police (PNP) is now on full alert for the second State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Monday. The full alert took effect 5 p.m. Sunday and will last until 12 noon on July 25, PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo said in a statement. ‘All systems go in so far as security coverage is concerned,’ Fajardo said, adding that the police have not monitored any serious threats that may compromise peace, order, and security during the SONA. ‘The PNP is continuously coordinating with other security sectors to preempt any attempt. We are hoping for the best, but prepared for any worst scenario.’ She urged the rallyists, both pro and anti-government, to observe the extent and limitations provided in their permits to rally. Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos assured that all necessary contingencies are in place to ensure that the SONA, which is expected to draw over 2,000 guests, will flow smoothly. He assured that the police will practice restraint and maximum tolerance towards the rallyists who are expected to converge in various areas. The Quezon City government said its Transport and Traffic Management Department will deploy 800 enforcers to major thoroughfares, the Quezon City Police District will assign 6,123 uniformed officers, and the Department of Public Order and Safety will utilize 375 personnel to assist the police, according to a news release. The QC Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Department will likewise dispatch 287 personnel from its Emergency Medical Services, Search and Rescue teams, and other additional resources to ensure the safety of the public and respond to any untoward incident. The city government reminds all groups to follow laws and regulations. ‘QC is a bastion of free speech and we value the right of everyone to peacefully assemble as protected by our Constitution,’ Mayor Joy Belmonte said. Pro-administration groups can gather near the Commission on Audit while protesters may assemble near the Tandang Sora overpass. Meanwhile, as the jeepney operators and drivers’ group Manibela announced holding a three-day strike starting on the day of SONA, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Chairperson Teofilo Guadiz III said the Novaliches-Balintawak-Blumentritt Transport Cooperative (NOBABLUM T/C) has shunned the protest action. He said the officials and members of the NOBABLUM T/C based in North Caloocan City fully support the public utility vehicle modernization program (PUVMP) and have decided not to join the planned “tigil-pasada” (stop operation) on July 24 to 26. Emily Pilotos, NOBABLUM T/C chairperson, said the members of the cooperative will continue to operate on the Novaliches-Balintawak-Rizal Avenue (Manila) route and vice versa by way of Quirino Highway and A. Bonifacio Avenue during the three-day strike. Pilotos said their members started plying the Novaliches-Manila route in July 2021 with an initial 15 modern units ordered by the cooperative and financed by the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP). ‘The favorable reaction and patronage by daily commuters of the air-conditioned modernized jeepneys prompted us to apply for a second loan with DBP for an additional 23 units,’ she said in an interview. At the same time, she disagreed with the claim of some operators and drivers of traditional public utility jeepneys (PUJs) that the government requirement for them to consolidate and join a cooperative is counterproductive and unprofitable. Earlier, two other transport cooperatives based in Novaliches, Quezon City and operating a total of 84 modern jeepneys on the Novaliches-Malinta-Valenzuela City route told the LTFRB that their drivers would not be joining the transport strike. These are the Novaliches-Malinta Jeepney Transport Service Cooperative (NMJTSC) and the Novaliches Development Cooperative Inc. (NOVADECI) Transport Service Cooperative which have 52 units and 32 units, respectively

Source: Philippines News Agency