MANILA — The Philippine National Police is on heightened alert in Luzon and Visayas as it gears for protest rallies across the country for the Labor Day celebration on Friday (May 1).
In Mindanao, police units there will be on full alert to address the peace and order situation during the mass actions in the region.
Senior Supt. Bartolome Tobias, the new PNP spokesperson, urged the organizers of protest rallies to keep an eye out for infiltrators who might infiltrate the protesters and cause chaos.
“Those who have not secured permits can only conduct their mass actions in freedom parks and private places. Those who have permits can conduct their mass actions in public places indicated in their permit,” the police official said.
“We assure that there will be no confrontation, no dispersal, and no use of compelling force if only assemblies are held in accordance with law, and all actions are well within legal bounds,” he added.
The PNP expects the bulk of protesters to converge at the Mendiola in Manila, estimating the number of protesters to be at around 3,000.
In a press briefing in Camp Crame on Thursday, the police official said the number of policemen to be deployed to the protest actions would be enough to ensure peace and order.
The PNP will deploy augmentation troops from the Ilocos Region, Central Luzon and Southern Luzon in case there is a need for reinforcements, particularly in Metro Manila.
“Because of operational security and consideratons, I can’t disclose the number of personnel that will be deployed but rest assured there will be a sufficient number of personnel,” Tobias said.
He added that the policemen would cooperate and support the protesters “within the bounds of law.”
Tobias said the PNP would tolerate lawful and peaceful assemblies, but “will never compromise the rule of law and the right of the majority to feel safe, secured and convenient.”
“We expect the leaders to coordinate and keep their lines of communication open with authorities on the ground to ensure the peaceful and orderly outcome of their activities,” he said.
Tobias said they have been talking with the leaders of mass actions as he declined to disclose if there are threats monitored so far.
He assured the public that policemen would exercise maximum tolerance and would only use reasonable force during protests, while police cameramen would be deployed to document the movements of policemen and the protesters.