MANILA, July 22, 2013 (INQUIRER) By Jamie Marie Elona -Security preparations for President Benigno Aquino III’s State of the Nation Address at the Batasang Pambansa Complex in Quezon City Monday are all in place, the National Capital Region Police Office said Sunday.

National Capital Region Police Office director, Chief Superintendent Marcelo Garbo Jr., said roughly 8,000 police officers, both from NCRPO and Quezon City Police District, are set to be deployed near the Batasan Pambansa complex to maintain order and security as the nation awaits President Aquino’s fourth SONA speech.

All police offices in the region have been placed under full alert status since Friday.

Chief Superintendent Marcelo Garbo Jr. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

Earlier this week, Garbo led the “Dialogue with Community Leaders and other Stakeholders” in a bid to establish coordination, cooperation and understanding between the police, stakeholders, community leaders, and cause-oriented groups on issues such as self-policing, no permit–no rally policy, traffic rerouting and other public services.

“I request for your cooperation. I expect that everything we have talked about will be followed during the SONA Day on July 22,” Garbo said.

Garbo said protest rallies are banned within the two-kilometer zone of the House of Representatives when the President delivers his speech.

This means that demonstrators can’t go beyond Ever-Gotesco Mall on Commonwealth Avenue, which is a few meters from the St. Peter Parish Church.

Garbo said around 15,000 to 18,000 militants are expected to join SONA-related protest actions.

Although several untoward incidents have been recorded in previous SONA rallies, the NCRPO chief said police officers will continue to observe maximum tolerance in dealing with demonstrators.

“All our actions will be within the police operational procedures and human rights policies,” Garbo said.

The police official earlier said that intelligence reports showed possible threats on SONA Day, but it was no cause for worry.

It wasn’t anything related to specific terrorist groups and crime groups, Garbo noted.

“We always assume when we plan [that] there is always a threat. What matter is how we assess the kind of threat, and how we respond to it,” the NCRPO chief said.

Nonetheless, Garbo directed all his District Directors to account all police officers and to strengthen police’s anti-criminality and police visibility operations all over Metro Manila, while everyone is busy for SONA.

“We will not give the would-be perpetrators to take advantage of the situation,” Garbo added.

Traffic rerouting

Meanwhile, the MMDA advised motorists to take alternate routes as certain sections of Commonwealth Avenue will be closed to vehicular traffic on Monday.

In its advisory, the MMDA said the entire stretch of Commonwealth Avenue (northbound and southbound) from Quezon Memorial Circle/Philcoa to Fairview (Fairview Center Mall) will be cleared exactly by midnight on Monday and illegally parked vehicles will be towed.

Moreover, only two left lanes of northbound will be opened as container vans and concrete barriers would be set up as roadblock in front of the St. Peters Parish and Convergy’s Building.

At 5 a.m. rerouting will start from U-Turn slot in front of Jocfer Building and Omni Tire Supply passing south bound up to San Simon U-Turn slot (1-6 km- counter flow).

Four lanes of the southbound will be used by motorists leading to northbound (Fairview) direction via reverse flow of traffic.

Motorists coming from Tivoli Royale and other subdivisions at the back of Ever Gotesco shall use the Jocfer U-turn slot.

The available U-turn slots prior to Jocfer will be used as the alternate U-turn slot for motorists travelling towards Fairview areas.

Motorists from Capitol Estates 1 will be used as the U-turn slot fronting St. Peter Church to get to the northbound (Fairview area) or southbound (EDSA areas.)

Traffic on the nine lanes of Commonwealth Avenue will resume to normal after the San Simon U-turn slot for motorists on their way to Fairview areas.

At 12 noon IBP road will be declared one-way traffic (the road leading to the House of Representatives). It will be cleared for vehicles coming from Commonwealth, Filinvest 1, Sinagtala, San Mateo Road, Filinvest 2 on their way to HOR, Fairview and Commonwealth Avenue (All right turn only).

The opposite direction leading to Sandiganbayan underpass and Commonwealth Avenue shall be for the exclusive use of vehicles coming from the House of Representatives until the SONA is concluded.

Meanwhile, as an exemption, members of Congress coming from San Mateo will be allowed to turn left going to Batasan.

Alternate routes that may be used to decongest Commonwealth Avenue : Congressional Avenue, turn left to Mindanao Avenue, turn right to Sauyo Road , turn left to Chestnut, turn right to Dahli and turn left to Regalado Avenue to reach Fairview Center Mall where motorists can proceed either to northbound and southbound direction.

For motorists from Fairview area, they may take the same route (opposite direction) on their way to Quezon Memorial Circle or EDSA.

IBP Litex Road will be closed for motorists coming from Montalban/Rodriguez Area and will take Soliven Street in going to Commonwealth Ave and Fairview Area.

At 6 p.m., traffic flow along Commonwealth Avenue and IBP/Batasan Road will back to normal.

Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority said it will deploy 1,200 of its personnel to ensure orderly traffic near Batasan complex.

The coding scheme will not be lifted, MMDA said.

The MMDA is also set to deploy about 100 crowd control and management personnel for the SONA.

Emergency personnel, fire trucks and ambulances will also be on standby.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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