MANILA -- The military has not monitored any security threat ahead of President Benigno Aquino III’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday.
“Based on our assessment, we have not monitored any threat,” said Brig. Gen. Manuel Gonzales, AFP Joint Task Force National Capital Region commander.
Militant groups are expected to stage rallies near the Batasang Pambansa, which Gonzales considers "normal" events.
“We are not considering them as threats. It’s their right to stage rallies. We are expecting a peaceful SONA tomorrow,” he said.
Nonetheless, hundreds of soldiers are already on standby for the SONA.
According to Gonzales, at least three Civil Disturbance and Management (CDM) companies, composed of about 120 men each, are already on standby at the Camp Aguinaldo headquarters.
“We are just on standby. We’ll know tomorrow if the deployment (of the soldiers) is needed by the PNP. We have CDM companies on standby so that if the NCRPO requests for them, they are ready to be deployed,” he said.
The National Capital Region Police Office will be deploying 10,000 policemen to secure the SONA.
Gonzales said Explosives and Ordinance Disposal and K-9 teams and medical teams will also be on alert.
Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes earlier slammed the military and police garrison that will be stationed at Commonwealth Avenue, which he believes is meant to prevent protesters from reaching the Batasan Road.
He blasted the PNP for imposing a “rally site” for SONA protesters “surrounded by razor-sharp concertina wires, steel fences and concrete barriers.
"Not even during the regime of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo were such measures implemented. The regime continues to violate the people’s right to peaceably assemble,” Reyes noted.