The Philippine National Police (PNP) has deployed more than 100 human rights officers in order to ensure that policemen would observe the protocols in dealing with protesters in today’s State of the Nation Address of President Duterte in Quezon City.
But Col. Joel Usman, deputy chief of the PNP-Human Rights Affairs Office (HRAO), said they are confident that the protest actions would be peaceful due to the series of meetings between the National Capital Region Police Office and the organizers of various anti-Duterte groups.
He, however, said that the deployment of HRAO officers is just a precautionary measures for worse-case scenarios.
“This is part of our mandate to ensure that our PNP would observe the Police Operational Procedures in terms of respecting the human rights of the rallyists,” Usman said.
He said that 103 HRAO personnel came from the NCRPO while 14 others came from HRAO main office at Camp Crame.
The HRAO officers will serve as observers of the protest actions in areas where policemen are deployed.
Almost all of the HRAO officers were deployed along Commonwealth Avenue where more than 15,000 anti-Duterte rallyists were expected to hold a program.
“Our presence is important because right there, we would be able to advise or correct our CDM (Civil Disturbance Management) personnel if we see that they are already violating the rights of the protesters,” said Usman.
Usman, however, believes that the trainings and seminars they conducted for all CDM personnel in the past few years would still prevail to prevent violent confrontations between policemen and protesters. (Aaron Recuenco)