Gov‘t on alert over inaugural disruption buzz

Communist groups are still plotting to disrupt the inauguration of President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on June 30 and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is taking these reports seriously, its spokesman said Tuesday.

INAUGURAL BANNER. Members of the Department of Public Works and Highways hang banners announcing the June 30 inauguration of President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. along Ayala Bridge near in Manila on Tuesday, June 21, 2022. Norman Cruz

“Leftist organizers” have been gathering in Tarlac, Cavite, Pampanga, and Laguna in the past weeks to mobilize people, DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said in a statement, without mentioning names or groups.

“We are taking these intelligence reports seriously, and we will do what is necessary to thwart any attempt to embarrass or discredit the forthcoming inauguration,” he said.

Malaya made the statement after former rebels on Monday said communist groups have started organizing farmers in Tarlac to disrupt the inauguration next week.

The former rebels revealed this during a media briefing organized by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC) – for which Malaya is also the spokesman.

“We respect the people’s rights to free expression, peaceably assemble, and the exercise of their democratic rights but this has to be done within the bounds of the law,” he said.

“Therefore, we advise all protesters to hold their peaceful demonstrations in Manila’s designated freedom parks such as Plaza Miranda, Plaza Dilao, Plaza Moriones, and Liwasang Bonifacio. There are so many to choose from,” the official added.

The DILG has also tapped the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) to augment security forces during Marcos’ inauguration as the country’s 17th president.

Through its fleet, the PCG said it will dispatch rigid hull inflatableboats, aluminum boats, and personal watercraft to provide intensified maritime patrol in the vicinity waters off Manila Bay and Pasig River.

“Rest assured that the PCG will work side by side with the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, and other concerned government agencies to realize a safe, secure, and peaceful assumption of the 17th President of the Republic of the Philippines,” said PCG Commandant Admiral Artemio Abu in a separate statement.

Earlier, the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) said all systems are in place to secure the inauguration of Marcos.

NCRPO chief Maj. Gen. Felipe Natividad said final security preparation had been laid down and finalized to ensure success and zero casualty and any untoward incident.

“We have not monitored any threat ahead as of this moment but we are continuously and closely monitoring and coordinating with our counterparts,” Natividad said.

He said several road closures, the 1-kilometer radius of the National Museum will be declared a no-fly zone for drones and aircraft, while several ports and waterways near the establishment have also been inspected.

Natividad said a gun ban will be imposed from 6 a.m. on June 27 to 6 a.m. on July 1, adding only police and military and other law enforcers who are performing official duties in prescribed uniforms will be authorized to carry firearms.

Motorists are advised to take alternate routes as heavy traffic will be expected, particularly on roads leading to and from the National Museum.

Backpacks also not be allowed in all VIP areas to ensure the safety of everyone.

At least 6,000 police officers will be deployed for Marcos’ inauguration.

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