All gun permits were ordered suspended in Metro Manila from November 16 to 20 as part of security measures for next week’s Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leader’s Meeting.
“Only the members of the PNP [Philippine National Police], Armed Forces of the Philippines and other law enforcement agencies [that]are performing official duties and in agency-prescribed uniforms will be allowed to carry firearms,” the PNP spokesman, Chief Supt. Wilben Mayor, said on Friday.
Those who would be caught carrying guns on November 16-20, Mayor added, will face criminal charges and may face an imprisonment of six months and one day to six years and a fine of P10,000.
Their firearm license and permit to carry firearms outside their residence would either be suspended or revoked as provided for in Republic Act 10591 or the Comprehensive Law on Firearms and Ammunition.
Chief Insp. Kimberly Molitas, spokesman for the National Capital Region (Metro Manila) Police Office (NCRPO), said they will begin implementing the temporary suspension of gun permits starting Sunday night.
The NCRPO has ordered all its unit commanders in Metro Manila to go on full alert. The alert took effect 6 a.m. also on Friday.
A “full alert” status means all police personnel must be present in their posts. All leaves and days off are also cancelled.
Mayor said logistical requirements of every policeman who will be on duty for the APEC summit would be taken care of. He added that each policeman would be given daily a packed meal worth P300.
The police will hold a dry run on Saturday to test APEC route security.
“We will be having a dry run for the APEC security early morning tomorrow [Saturday],” Mayor said.
Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno also on Friday announced suspension of work from November 16 to 20 in the Supreme Court (SC), Court of Appeals (CA) and the lower courts in some areas because of road closures for the APEC meeting.
A memorandum that she issued said work is suspended in the first and second level courts of Manila and Makati City on Monday, November 16. “The executive judges are directed to maintain a skeletal force for the purpose of receiving emergency filings,” it added.
Work is suspended in the SC except for the offices of the Judicial Records Office (JRO), cashier, motor pool, Clerk of Court en banc (only for purposes of en banc session) and chambers of justices (only for purposes of en banc session).
Work is suspended at the CA, except in the offices of the Judicial Records Division and Cash Division, and such other offices that the presiding justice may determine should remain open.
For Tuesday-Friday (November 17-20), work is suspended in all courts in the National Capital Judicial Region (NCJR), except that the respective presiding justices of the Sandiganbayan and the Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) shall maintain a skeletal force for the purpose of attending to urgent matters such as returns of warrants of arrest.
The executive judges of the first and second level trial courts in the NCJR will also maintain a skeletal force for emergency filings.
A no-fly zone will be temporarily implemented next week.
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said security measures will be stricter in all Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) terminals on November 17, 19 and 20.
There will also be a “no-fly zone” within 2 nautical miles radius of the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) from surface to 16,000 feet. This will be effective November 17, 10 a.m, until November 20, 7 p.m.
The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) again urged passengers to fly ahead or after the APEC summit and to get in touch with their airlines for any changes in their flight schedules.
The MIAA said there will still be commercial flights during APEC week, except that these will most likely be subjected to delays and even cancelations.
It added that APEC leaders will start flying in on November 16 until the following day. No flight movements of heads of state are expected on the first day of the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting on November 18.
Heads of state are expected to leave Manila on November 19 and 20. Normal flight operations are expected to resume on November 21.
Airlines have also canceled flights in preparation for the APEC meeting.
Maritime security forces were also placed on a high state of preparedness and readiness in the Manila Bay area.
A task group from the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Philippine Navy, Philippine National Police Maritime Group and Bureau of Customs has been formed to ensure compliance with the 10-day “exclusion zone” and “no-sail zone” policy from November 13 to 22.
Joel Garcia, commander of the joint task group, said the exclusion zone covers 2 nautical miles from the shoreline going seaward from Pasig River to the stretch of Parañaque City (Metro Manila).
The no-sail zone would be implemented within 30 yards from the shoreline going seaward in the same vicinity.
Moreover, a heightened alert is also enforced in Pasig River wherein authorities are watching critical infrastructures such as bridges as well as informal settlers within the area.
Garcia said all sea vessels entering Manila Bay from the south and north entrances of Corregidor will be challenged by Navy, Coast Guard and police boats.
He added that about 70 vessels have been stationed in key areas to enforce the exclusion and no-sail zone.
“Movement of vessels in the exclusion zone is restricted. Otherwise, said vessels must seek permission from the task group if they decide to berth to another area. However, domestic and international vessels in the no-sail zone which would berth or dock in North or South Harbor will be escorted by the forces of said task group,” Garcia said.
Additional security protocols would also be enforced by the Coast Guard through profiling of ships’ passengers going to Manila before and for the duration of the APEC summit to include rigid screening for all container vans of cargo vessels.
The Coast Guard would also deploy additional sea marshals on commercial passenger vessels.
Customs, business as usual
The Bureau of Customs also on Friday advised the public that it would be on a ‘business as usual’ mode next week, which means the Port of Manila, Manila International
Container Port and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport will be fully operational and open for public transactions during the summit.
The public has been assured that Customs employees assigned to operations and assessment are working on a 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. shift even on weekends.
Early this week, the bureau expedited clearing of shipments as part of its initiative to pull out heavy volumes to clear ports.