SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
Amid tensions arising from the recent terrorist bombing in Mindanao, House of Representatives Sergeant-at-Arms MGen. (Ret.) Romeo Prestoza assured on Thursday that there have been no perceived substantial threats to the fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Rodrigo Duterte on July 22, 2019.
"When it comes to security threats, wala pa namang substantial, meaning talagang wala pang nakarating na actual na threat," Prestoza said in a press briefing about the SONA 2019 preparations.
He added that the bombing in Mindanao was taken into consideration as the House prepares its security measures for the day of the SONA.
"Well part of it kasi, sa experience ko kasi I've been an intelligence officer for 27 years, those things talagang kinoconsider namin. Hindi namin pinapabayaan, tinitingnan namin," he said.
Prestoza said that despite an absence of perceived threats, the House has "a very good coordination" with relevant intelligence units to evaluate any risks to the House or President Duterte during the SONA.
"That's why we initiate 'yung direct na contact with the NICA (National Intelligence Coordinating Agency), ISAFP (Intelligence Service, Armed Forces of the Philippines) and other intelligence units to see kung meron talagang connection or possibility na umabot dito. But as of this time, wala naman kaming nakikita pa," Prestoza said.
He also emphasized that the House security is prepared and well-equipped to handle security issues.
"At saka if ever, nakaprepare naman kami. We have extensive trainings and seminars to include simulation exercises and tabletop exercises para in case na meron nga, we would be prepared. Even 'yung protocols, when it comes to emergencies ginagawa din namin. So like what I've said, when it comes to threat, wala naman kaming substantial na nakikita na threat," Prestoza explained.
He also clarified that the Presidential Security Group (PSG) shall be responsible for directing signal jammers on SONA day, based on their assessment of the proceedings.
"Of course 'yung signal jammers, mga part iyon ng security coming from the end ng PSG. And they would be the one to control it. Kung kailangan nila or they feel they need to initiate na the jamming procedure, sila makakapag-dictate noon. I cannot dictate it," Prestoza said.
House Acting Secretary General Dante Roberto Maling also stated that it is business as usual in terms of the House preparations. He said that preparation activities remain on track and are the same as in previous years.
"Basically, the preparation has been the same through the years except siguro for very minor details, mga maliliit na arrangements lang. It doesn't really deviate from what has been happening from the past years," Maling said. / Czarina Engracia / News and Documentation Section-Press and Public Affairs Bureau / House of Representatives of the Philippines