VP’s husband Emhoff leading US delegation to inauguration

The husband of US Vice President Kamala Harris, Douglas Emhoff, will lead the American delegation to the inauguration of President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the US embassy said Monday.

PRACTICE PARADE. US Vice President Kamala Harris (left) and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff, who will lead American officials to attend the event. AFP

Others in the delegation are Heather Variava, and interim chargé d’affaires at the US Embassy Manila; Rep. Bobby Scott of Virginia; Nani Coloretti, deputy director, Office of Management and Budget; Admiral James Winnefeld, Jr. (Ret.), former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Edgard Kagan, special assistant to the President and senior director for East Asia and Oceania, National Security Council; and Chantale Wong, US director of the Asian Development Bank.

Marcos will take his oath of office at the National Museum of the Philippines on June 30, with more than 15,000 security personnel assigned to protect the incoming president.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Monday advised spectators not to bring backpacks to the event.

PNP director for operations Police Major General Valeriano de Leon told CNN Philippines they are expecting a huge crowd at the event.

“For those who will be coming and personally watch the oath-taking, I am reminding them to avoid using backpacks. And if it is not avoided, bring a plastic bag so we can easily screen the contents of their belongings to be brought inside the area,” he said.

De Leon said the PNP has not monitored any serious threat so far to the inauguration.

PRACTICE PARADE. Members of the country’s security forces rehearse their civic and military parade along Maria Orosa Street towards the National Museum in Manila on Monday in preparation for the inauguration of President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on June 30. Norman Cruz

De Leon also discouraged those who have health conditions from attending the event and advised them to just watch the oath-taking on TV.

At the same time, the PNP designated three “freedom parks” where protesters can stage a rally without permits.

De Leon identified these as Plaza Miranda, Plaza Dilao, and Liwasang Bonifacio.

“These are the areas where they could hold programs without a permit from the local government,” De Leon said.

With the designation of the freedom parks, De Leon is hopeful that protesters will no longer assemble near the venue of the inauguration.

Police will keep protesters from leaving the designated areas, De Leon said.

Marcos supporters will be allowed at the golf course in front of the National Museum, which can hold around 25,000 to 30,000 people, he said.

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), meanwhile, said it has started patrolling Manila Bay and Pasig River as part of security measures for the inauguration.

The Supreme Court declared that work would be suspended from June 29, Wednesday to June 30, Thursday.

Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo said this was due to the road closure and traffic plan released by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority as part of security measures for the inauguration.

“Whereby all roads leading to the Supreme Court are affected, thereby making it inconvenient for everyone to report for work, in consultation with the Supreme Court En Banc, a work suspension is hereby declared on June 29-30,” the order read.

The Court of Appeals also declared that work would be suspended at the CA Manila Station from June 29 to June 30.

“In view of the traffic advisory in the City of Manila in relation to the Presidential inauguration… and in consultation with the Honorable Chief Justice of the Republic of the Philippines… work is hereby suspended in the Manila Station,” it said.

Authorities had started closing several roads as early as Sunday evening.

Also on Monday, Marcos’s image consultant said the President-elect’s sister, Irene Marcos-Araneta, was holding a contest among designers to choose the best design for a barong Tagalog for the incoming President.

The contest also included the barongs that will be worn by his three sons, said Jay Herrera, Marcos’s official image consultant.

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