• APEC SUMMIT

    Military on lookout for terrorists

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    THE military’s spokesman on Tuesday said they are on the lookout for foreign terrorists who might enter the country and attempt to disrupt the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders Meeting set later this month.

    “Of course, part and parcel of security is to find out and have a good situational awareness of what is happening around you and that includes any perceived threat that may be forthcoming or looming,” Col. Restituto Padilla said.

    The APEC Leaders’ Meeting is scheduled from November 17 to 20.

    In a news conference at the military’s main headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City (Metro Manila), Padilla said all the government agencies that are involved in security preparations are working overtime in intelligence monitoring.

    “All agencies that are involved in security and information gathering and intelligence are there doing their respective tasks,” he added.

    Padilla said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has not received or monitored any threat to the event.

    To ensure, however, that no lawless or terrorist threat will mar the two-week proceedings, intelligence operatives are working round the clock to protect the delegates from possible threats.

    Padilla said their biggest concern at the moment are protest groups who are planning to stage actions against the event and perceived government failures.

    He is urging organizers of the protests to stage their actions in designated areas and acquire the necessary permits.

    “We are already prepared to host and appropriate security measures have been put in place already,” Padilla said.

    He added that the military security blanket will stay until the successful conclusion of the event.

    “It will stay that way until the conclusion of the APEC,” Padilla said.

    Col. Vic Tomas, deputy commander of the AFP’s Joint Task Force National Capital Region (Metro Manila), earlier said that while the military has not monitored any threats, it is not taking any chances and has started “hardening” soft areas as well as potential targets.

    According to Tomas, security forces are prepared for the worst-case scenario especially for any related risk to humanitarian assistance disaster response risk or HADRR.

    He said security forces have put in place contingency planning on chemical, biological and even nuclear risks.

    “Definitely we are prepared, we call it a full spectrum risk management preparedness protocols. Government agencies have readied quick response teams to deal with such threats,” Tomas added.

    Bicol police to boost security

    At least 800 policemen from the Police Regional Office 5 (Bicol Region) would be sent to Metro Manila to augment the security for the APEC Summit.

    “Our augmentation force from Bicol has been assigned and had provided security during the papal visit in Tacloban City,” Malu Calubaquib, Bicol regional spokesman for the
    Philippine National Police told The Manila Times.

    WITH PNA AND RHAYDZ B. BARCIA

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