Activists snub SONA dialogue with QCPD
MANILA - Militant groups did not show up at the dialogue initiated by the Quezon City Police District (QCPD), which sought to flesh out logistical concerns about the State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 28.
Representatives from the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), QCPD, and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) attended the dialogue.
Representatives from church groups, Muslim groups, and the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) were also in attendance.
However, seats reserved for groups like Sanlakas, Gabriela and others remained empty.
QCPD Director Richard Albano gave a stern message to activist groups who could be planning to break security lines and cause a commotion during the SONA.
"Hindi pa tayo nagma-mature. Sana sa panahon na ito, matatanda na tayo, dapat alam natin kung hanggang saan lang tayo. We should always respect our leaders, kahit hindi mo gusto ang sasabihin," Albano said.
He also encouraged protesters to stay at the media box, well away from Batasang Pambansa, if their intention is to air their grievances.
"Bakit gusto niyong malapit kayo sa HOR [House of Representatives], wala naman media doon? Kung gusto ninyong marinig, doon kayo pumunta sa media box. Lahat sila nandoon. Kung purpose ninyo manggulo, gusto niyo sa HOR, maliwanag na ang purpose niyo ay manggulo. Kasi wala namang makakarinig sa inyo doon."
Albano also warned foreigners from joining SONA protests, like Thomas van Beersum, who was deported after he was seen participating in the SONA demonstrations last year.
"Last year, who are you, 'di ka naman Pilipino, ano bang alam mo dito? Hindi ba kayo nahiya? Dapat kayo nanghuli dito, ibang lahi siya pa ang kung ano ang sinasabi? Wala ka, hindi ka Pinoy. Kung may magsasabi man ng tama o mali, it should be a Filipino."
Only one person representing the Scrap Pork Network came to ask questions - Noor Perez.
Perez said his group alone will be coming in 50 or so buses. He also said that he is not privy to the plans of other groups.
He likewise called on the Philippine National Police (PNP) to stop its animosity toward protesters and allow them to speak their minds.
Despite the no-show, Albano said they will continue to initiate dialogues like these in the coming years.
Meanwhile, the PNP will be deploying 8,000 to 10,000 cops for the SONA, with the assurance that these forces will not be not be suffering physical exhaustion from securing the Iglesia ni Cristo Centennial Anniversary over the weekend.
The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), on the other hand, will deploy 30 fire trucks, five ambulances, and more than 200 BFP personnel.
The Quezon City government will deploy 360 traffic enforcers on site as well.