Over 6,000 cops, 600 soldiers to secure 2018 SONA

MANILA, Philippines – More than 6,000 cops and 600 soldiers will secure the 3rd State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Rodrigo Duterte, security officials announced on Tuesday, July 10.

Metro Manila police director Chief Superintendent Guillermo Eleazar said more than 6,000 cops will be deployed to various areas in Manila and Quezon City when the President delivers the SONA at the Batasang Pambansa on July 23.

"6,000 plus ang latest (More than 6,000 is the latest figure)," Eleazar told Rappler in a text message.

They will be supported by more than 600 soldiers, according to Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Public Affairs Office chief Colonel Noel Detoyato.

"Mga 600 na tao, pero kuwan pa 'yan, 'yung naka-stay lang dito because the joint task force can be augmented," Detoyato told reporters in a briefing.

(Around 600, but that will still increase because the joint task force can be augmented.)

Detoyato said they have not monitored any SONA-related threats.

Protesters are again expected to hold rallies when the President delivers his 3rd SONA.

In 2017, thousands of protesters undertook a 7.5-kilometer walk from the Quezon Memorial Circle up to just outside the gates of the Batasang Pambansa to demonstrate against Duterte.

During that same SONA, authorities were also on heightened alert as the Marawi siege was raging.

This year, Duterte's address comes on the heels of a series of killings of priests and local officials in the provinces. Police have downplayed the killings as "coincidental."

The President promised to trim the SONA to less than 35 minutes this year, much shorter than his two-hour speech in 2017. – Rappler.com

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.

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