BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The entire police force in Western Visayas was placed on full alert status effective yesterday ahead of the State Of the Nation Address of President Rodrigo Duterte today.
Police Col. P/Col. Gilbert Gorero, spokesperson of the Police Regional Office 6, also stressed the “No permit, No rally” policy as PRO 6 discourages the holding of demonstrations due to the health risks brought about by the COVID 19 pandemic.
“We encourage protesters to use social media as an alternative venue subject to the limitations of laws,” Gorero said.
He added that PRO6 will strongly implement IATF guidelines, particularly, strict observance of physical distancing, wearing of face mask and public safety hazards, and requested the cooperation of the public to avoid crowded areas and to avoid joining rallies today.
PRO6 has activated its Task Group “SONA 2020” in coordination with other concerned government agencies, which will supervise the conduct of all security preparations and operations in different cities and provinces in the region.
Meanwhile, the NPA South East Front issued a statement accusing the 11th Infantry Battalion of gathering members of the Nangka United Farmers Association (NUFA) in Bayawan, Negros Oriental, in order for them not to participate in the SONA rallies today.
Ka Estrella Banagbanag, spokesperson of the rebel group, also claimed that NUFA leader Fernando Balor was invited for questioning for investigations, in connection with the alleged links of their group to the revolutionary movement.
She said that soldiers also warned them of grave consequences should they continue to take part in allies during the people’s SONA.*