Security forces start enforcement of safety measures for VP inauguration

VICE Presidential-elect Sara Duterte-Carpio delivers a speech at her local party’s Miting de Avance on May 6 held at the San Pedro Square in Davao City, the same venue for her inauguration on June 19. — PCOO.GOV.PH

SECURITY measures are set for the inauguration of Vice President-elect Sara Duterte-Carpio in Davao City on June 19, according to the military and police, with road closures around the venue to take effect as early as Thursday evening. 

Outgoing President Rodrigo R. Duterte, her father, is expected to attend the ceremony, the first time that it will be held at the Dutertes’ hometown in southern Philippines.

President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr., who will have his inauguration in Manila on June 30, has yet to confirm attendance on Sunday. 

Venue will be at the San Pedro Square, an area fronting the city government complex and next to the San Pedro Cathedral, the oldest Catholic church in Davao and marked as a National Cultural Treasure, which had been a site of two bombing incidents, the first in 1981 and then in 1993.  

The head of the anti-terrorism unit of the military’s Eastern Mindanao Command, called Joint Task Force Haribon, has been designated as ground commander for the event’s security operations. 

“We will deploy our troops and all available resources to boost the security within the city and its borders, as well as conduct of maritime and air patrols. We will also utilize our medical group to provide medical support in case of any emergency,” EastMinCom commander General Greg T. Almerol told the media earlier this week.

The military, police, and the Presidential Security Group met at the weekend to firm up the security plan.

Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) will enforce a ban on firearms during the separate inauguration ceremonies of Mr. Marcos in Manila and Ms. Duterte-Carpio. 

In a live-streamed briefing on Wednesday, PNP Director for Operations Valeriano T. de Leon said the gun ban is a measure to prevent possible safety threats during the oath-taking ceremonies of the country’s newly-elected top two officials.

“The world is watching this historic event, so it is also important to show that we can do this orderly,” he said.

The gun bans will take effect from June 16 to 21 in Davao City, and from June 27 to July 2 in Metro Manila. 

Mr. De Leon also encouraged those who will attend the events to use transparent plastic bags to carry their belongings to allow easier inspection. 

PNP Officer-in-Charge Vicente D. Danao, Jr. said during a briefing on Monday that protesters would be allowed to hold rallies near the National Museum in Manila, where Mr. Marcos’ ceremony will be held, only if they show support for the incoming president.

On the other hand, Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra told reporters in a Viber message on Wednesday that “As long as they (protesters) do not constitute an actionable offense, such as inciting to sedition or oral defamation, rallyists enjoy freedom of expression.” 

“The right of peaceful assembly, regardless of one’s political beliefs or affiliation, is guaranteed by the constitution, subject to reasonable regulations to maintain peace and order, including the requirement to obtain a prior permit.” 

The Davao City police had also said that rallies will be allowed on Sunday, but organizers will have to secure a permit from the local government.  

Ms. Duterte-Carpio is the outgoing mayor of the city, a position held for several terms over more than decades by her father. She will be succeeded by her brother, current Vice Mayor Sebastian “Baste” Z. Duterte. — Maya M. Padillo and John Victor D. Ordoñez 

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