The House of Representatives will implement stricter security measures in Batasan Pambansa for President Duterte’s 2nd state of the Nation address.
House Secretary-General Cesar Pareja, Deputy Secretary-General Artemio Adasa and Sergeant-At-Arms Roland Detabali briefed the media this afternoon after a coordination meeting and walk through of the plenary today. “we are simply coordinating this for those other agencies na bago ang members nila.”
Detabali said, “definitely yung continuing yung planning and coordination namin. we prepared for our emergency programs but ang total effort namin is prevention”
Detabali said they are preparing for all scenarios, whether terrorists, criminal syndicates or even protesters. Detabali confirmed QCPD will deploy 6000 PNP personnel for SONA day. Detabali declined to give figures for security inside the Batasan.
“anything can happen kahit maliliit na grupo they can still create havoc kung gusto nila. as far as the protesters are concerned the PNP the Armed forces are talking to them because the last sona when protesters behaved the leaders of the protesting groups were given by the president an opportunity to be able to meet them personally so that they can air their concerns. pinaalala namin sa kanila yun they should behave.”
“this year mas maraming PNP and other armed services may mga crowd control elements na nadagdagan because we expect after 1 year we expect that these groups based on the intelligence briefing given to us may mga issues sila na gusto nila ilabas na di pa nagagwa ng present administration or nagawa na pero sa tingin nila kulang pa.”
“definitely ang security measurs na gagawin ngayon heightened not only because of the current ISIS-backed in the ML in Mindanao but because ang daming nagawa ni presidente especially war on drugs and criminality maraming nawala sa kanilang pera at tao magbayad lang sila baka may siraulong magvolunteer para gumawa ng gulo”
asked specifically if there is a threat, Detabali added, “definitely meron (threat) pero not serious panggulo lang because security PSG within the complex very tight 3 days before the SONA nakarsado na ang congress lockdown patoi pagkain equipment checheckin pati taong pumapasok”
Detabali says so far they see some threats from protesters but there are other possible sources of threats. “ as of now protesters pa lang ang natatanggap namin but were planning ahead baka sakaling may possibility it happened in the big countries before in the US Europe nakakasingit they have all the sophisticated equipment. terrorists possible syndicates esp the drug syndicates”
Pareja says they are bracing for the usual problems during a SONA like traffic management and security. “ the usual problems of course though we didnt experience much of this yung nagrarally sa labas nagcause ng traffic medyo toned down last year but right now we cant let it go we have to prepare…”
Detabali confirmed canine units from Congress, AFP and PNP will be deployed. However protesters will still be allowed 200 meters away from the Batasan gate.
Pareja said no barbed wires and container vans will be deployed. “that’s been the policy ni President Duterte ayaw niya nakakdistrupt na traffic just becaue my activity yung paglagay ng conrete barriers di niya pa gusto yun. as much as possible maayos yung traffic umaandar ang sasakyan. like what happened before yung mga nagrarally inescortan ng police para di magspillover outer land lenag , inescortan pa sila as much as possible di iddidisrupt yung traffic”
Adasa says they are also managing the issue of parking, with 2 new parking buildings to be made available for the SONA. those are being constructed now. Adasa however stressed not everybody will be allowed to park inside the premises but there will be other designated areas in the vicinity that will be designated for parking.
Pareja says the House will publish the traffic rerouting plan a week before the SONA.
Pareja says the parking buildings can be used a week before SONA. “since the capacity is around 500. nadisplace yung existing so that will be additional 300 vehicles. “
Adasa says the open space behind the South Wing Annex Building will also be opened to parking.
Pareja says most of the construction and renovation in the House will be done by next week. those that wont be finished by SONA will be suspended for that day.
Adasa says there are very limited seats in the plenary hall so requests to be invited to the SONA will have to be filtered. the session hall’s maximum sitting capacity is 1500 individuals. only those with invitations will be allowed inside. former members of congress are allowed to sit with incumbent lawmakers. ““we cannot go beyond that because even the engineering department inspected the place and set the limit as far as capacity we do not to overburden or overcrowd the area.”
Pareja said, “it was also inspected by our BFP and sila di wpedeng sobra sa ganito ang tao. “
Pareja says they are still finalizing the list of invitees but initially they get confirmations through letters from the usual attendees and those who respond affirmatively get a confirmed invitation.
Pareja also revealed that the dress code is still business attire and barong for the men and filipiniana or business attire for women with ostrentatious long gowns discourages—just like last year. “in our advisory syempre even if its a formal event na andiyan ni presidente sabi ni speaker this is still a working day.. syempre yung isusuot naman nila presentable it could be filipinana maiwasan yung long gown filipiniana or business attire its barong or business sa male guests filipiniana or business atire for (women)” Pareja however clarified that ostentatious outfits for the spouses are not disallowed. “sana makisama na lang the rest of the guests.
However, Pareja said the House will still roll out a red carpet despite the dress code. “even if its a working day, we do that to give due importance to the event.”
Adasa says the President is expected to arrive by land or air around 230PM or earlier than that. Guests will be expected as early as 1PM but the session hall will be opened at 2PM after it’s cleared by security. in the morning, the House is expected to open its 2nd regular session. The session hall will be closed by 330PM. latecomers will have to watch at the North Lounge where TV will be set up. The speech will be at 4PM. after the speech is the recessional. those inside the session hall wont be allowed to leave till the president is out of the session hall. Seats inside the session hall are numbered.
The matter of extending the martial law declaration in Mindanao is NOT on the agenda during the Joint Session. However that can be discussed in the morning session of the Lower House. the current martial law regime is expected to lapse before the SONA. “wala isang agenda lang yan, wala wala there’s no such discussion. they could probably discuss that in the morning separately if ever they have some business to be tackled on this particular point they can do that the following day”
After the SONA, invited guests will be treated to a reception at the South Wing to allow a reunion of govt officials and also to manage the flow of traffic so not everyone will leave at the same time.