Speaker Feliciano "Sonny" Belmonte Jr. has assured politicians' and diplomats' security, as the State of the Nation Address (SONA) looms.
In an interview, Belmonte said the House of Representatives has beefed up its security efforts after receiving "usual" intelligence reports that some groups are out to disrupt President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III's fourth SONA.
“We are working at the maximum security preparations to ensure the safety of President Aquino and all visitors during his SONA,” Belmonte stressed.
Belmonte said members of the Legislative Security Bureau (LSB) and the blue guards of the House of Representatives are closely working with various security forces of the government.
He is also confident the security personnel's close coordination with the Presidential Security Group (PSG) will ensure the Batasang Pambansa Complex security on July 22.
“We do not take it (threat) lightly. Any threat is subject to evaluation. But we are prepared to guarantee the safety of Batasan Complex,” Belmonte said.
“But when I inquired about the intelligence report, it is just a usual threat... Our preparation is taking place in an orderly manner,” he added.
Several congressmen expressed concern about the quality of security inside Batasan Pambansa Complex after ex-Cagayan de Oro Rep. Benjo Benaldo managed to sneak in a gun, which he used to shot himself with.
But in separate interview, Benaldo clarified his firearm-related injury was "a pure accident," which almost took his life last June 27.
"In fact, we intend to reiterate these strict security rules in a memorandum or executive order. We will also have to ask all members that we need their cooperation on this," Belmonte said.
"We have to show that we are some mighty people here who are not accountable for their own actions," he added.
For his part, Quezon City Police District head Senior Superintendent Richard Albano confirmed receiving information about the possible "disruptions" during President Aquino's SONA.
Albano revealed making a request for additional reinforcement to deal
with protesters on July 22.
MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Trade ministers from 21 Asia-Pacific countries on Sunday issued strong support to the World Trade Organization's efforts to boost global trade amid a flurry of regional free trade agreements. …