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600 military personnel to augment SONA security



The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will be committing around 600 officers and enlisted personnel to augment the security measures being implemented by the police during President Rodrigo Duterte's third State-of-the-Nation-Address (SONA) on July 23.

All of these soldiers will be coming from the Joint Task Force-National Capital Region (JTF-NCR), AFP public affairs office chief Col. Noel Detoyato said Tuesday.

"Our committed unit lang sa amin is the JTF-NCR, around 600 men. JTF-NCR can be augmented by others, depende sa needs na sasabihin ng (depending on the needs stated by the) PNP (Philippine National Police)," he added.

Also, Detoyato said they have yet to detect any security threats for the SONA except for pronouncements coming from militant groups claiming that they will conduct protest actions during the occasion.

"Nothing. Except yung (for) noise sa (in the) radio and (but) those are noise. There’s a difference between raw info and (intelligence) report. May intel siya na iniikutan bago siya sabihing intel report (There’s a process before an intelligence information can be considered as an intelligence report). So iyong mga nasa dyaryo (Those published in the newspapers), pronouncements, those are considered as raw info," the AFP official said.

And when asked to expound on what he meant by noise, Detoyato said: "Iyong mga magra-rally kami (Those saying that they are staging a rally). We have to validate kung magra-rally, limang tao lang naman so hayaan na yun. Depende kung anong grupo ang nagsasabing magra-rally kami, protesta kami pero pag tignan mo background, at the most maiipon niya 50 (If there is a rally and there are only five persons, let's leave it at that. It will depend on what group will say they will conduct a rally but if you look at the background and they only have 50 participants), that does not pose any threat."

When asked about the communist threat, Detoyato said that these are mostly confined outside Metro Manila and not a threat.

"Threat nila (Their threat is) limited up to the rally. Ang threat nila siguro sa mga commuters natin dahil magta-traffic talaga (Maybe their threat will affect our commuters because it will cause heavy traffic). Pero (But) to destabilize the whole government, no, they can’t do that," he added.

Priam Nepomuceno / PNA