Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada has placed Manila Police District (MPD) officials and city emergency response personnel in a state of readiness to ensure the safety of all delegates to the Asia Pacific Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders meeting.
“The international media are already describing this APEC event as the ‘Thrilla in Manila’ since we are bringing together world leaders, some of whom sometimes have opposing views on issues. We can say that this is one of the most historic events to be held in the country and in our city. We should make sure that everyone will be safe,” Mayor Estrada said.
News reports indicate that alongside the formal meetings of the APEC delegates, their spouses will be treated by the sisters of President Benigno Aquino 3rd to what has been called as a ‘Walk Through Time’ tour at the “old walled city” of Intramuros in Manila.
The President’s siblings—Ballsy Aquino-Cruz, Pinky Aquino-Abelleda, Viel Aquino-Dee and Kris Aquino—will be the hosts for the spouses’ tour which will present glimpses of life in the Philippines during the Spanish era.
Manila police chief, Chief Supt. Rolando Nana said Mayor Estrada’s prime instruction to the city’s police is to ensure safety and security for all the delegates, their spouses and their groups, and second is ensuring peace and order during the whole event including related activities.
He said the security and safety initiative is a national operation, and the MPD is a contingent to this operation through the Task Group Manila headed by National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) director, Chief Superintendent Joel Pagdilao.
“In executing our functions for the Apec event, the MPD is closely coordinating with the various concerned offices of the Manila local government, through Mayor Estrada’s “whole-of-city approach’ directive,” Nana said.
For his part, Manila Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO) officer-in-charge Johnny Yu said, “Manila is playing a major role in ensuring the success of the APEC event particularly through the maintenance of peace and order. For this, the entire city of Manila… the entire departments will supervise and will be utilized, like the Manila Health Department, etc.”
Estrada said, “I am asking all the people in Manila to cooperate with the police and other law enforcement personnel. We must all exercise vigilance to ensure that no harm will come to our visitors. We are encouraging the people to report to us any suspicious activities in their midst.”
Lumad asked to leave Liwasan
As this developed, Estrada ordered the dismantling of tents being used by the indigenous Lumad people at the Liwasang Bonifacio.
Estrada directed the City Engineering Department to help the Lumad remove their tents which they set up Monday. They were given a permit until Nov. 12.
Estrada met the Lumad leaders and appealed to them to vacate the freedom park and enable City Hall to clean it up as part of preparations for the upcoming Asia Pacific Economic Conference summit.
“It is the responsibility of every Filipino to preserve the image of the country,” Estrada said.
The Lumad were given until 6 p.m. Tuesday to clear the Liwasang Bonifacio.