DAGUPAN CITY — Some 7,000 policemen, personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and those of other government agencies involved in security will secure the last and final Presidential Debate slated on April 24 at Phinma University of Pangasinan starting at 6 p.m.
This was bared by Supt. Christopher Abrahano, chief of police of Dagupan City, who said during the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas (KBP) forum on Thursday that maximum security will be maintained at the debate site inside the university as well as outside and only those with pre-issued entry access will be allowed to enter.
Saying that all is now set as far as security preparation is concerned in connection with the debate, Abrahano revealed that only 1,100 people will be allowed in the debate hall. These people who form part of the general audience could enter the university only at the back of the university through Nable Street whose gate is opening as early as 1 a.m.
The gate on Nable Street will be closed at 3 p.m. and the expected arrival of the presidential candidates who will enter through Arellano Street is at 4 p.m.
The Commission on Elections said those who have no pre-issued entry access need not insist on entering the university campus anymore as they can watch the debate at home through their television sets,
Corollary to this, the KBP announced that only 20 media members will be allowed entry into the debate hall whose names will be picked in a raffle to be joined by some 500 mediamen who secured media accreditation.
ABS-CBN, sponsor of the debate, said a media center will be set up in two or three rooms of the university where mediamen who cannot enter the debate hall can watch the proceedings through a big television set and work on their reports.
Meanwhile, Abrahano announced that in preparation for the Presidential Debate, the whole of Arellano-Bani Street fronting Phinma University of Pangasinan will be closed for vehicular traffic from A.B. Fernandez Avenue junction where Jollibee is located and up to the junction of Jose R. de Venecia Expressway Extension from noon to 10 p.m. that day.
Railings will be set up there where the convoys of presidential candidates and other VIPs will be allowed, including ambulances, if any, that are bringing patients to the Region I Medical Center located on Arellano-Bani Street.
Also to be closed to vehicular traffic from 12 noon to 10 p.m. is the whole stretch of Nable Street from the junction of A. B. Fernandez Avenue to Sitio Guibang. Since the Medical City (formerly Pangasinan Medical Center) is located on Nable Street, ambulances will also be allowed.
Abrahano clarified that no backpack, including gadgets, food and water, will be allowed in the debate hall.
Children and pregnant women will not also be allowed in the site. Leonardo Micua/PNA/northboundasia.com