Duterte critics to rally away from SONA venue - police


Posted at Jul 22 2018 10:25 AM | Updated as of Jul 23 2019 02:51 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte talks to protesters after delivering his second State of the Nation Address, July 25, 2017. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Administration critics have agreed to protest away from the Batasan Pambansa on Monday, when President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his third State of the Nation Address, police said on the eve of the event.

Thosands of demonstrators traditionally march towards the legislative building during SONAs. Last year, Duterte met with protesters outside the Batasan complex after laying down his legislative agenda before Congress.

Anti-administration demonstrators this year will converge along Commonwealth Avenue while Duterte's supporters mount their own mass action in Batasan Road, said national police spokesperson Senior Supt. Benigno Durana, Jr.

The arrangement, he said, was a product of consultation with activists.

"Hindi lang ito security plan, arrangement na ginawa ng ating mga kapulisan at involved agencies... Ito po ay pinagkasunduan kasama po iyung mga anti and pro-Duterte rallyists," he told radio DZMM.

(This is not just a security plan or an arrangement among police and involved agencies... This is an agreement with anti and pro-Duterte rallyists.)

Watch more in iWantTFC

The Commission on Human Rights has been invited to monitor the protests and ensure that police exercise maximum tolerance against demonstrators, added Durana.

Some 6,000 officers will secure the Batasang Pambansa complex for the President's SONA on Monday afternoon, police earlier said.

Duterte will not meet protesters after his speech, Special Assistant to the President Bong Go said.