PH 'confident' it can weather APEC security challenge
As security alerts all over the world heighten after the Paris attacks, is the Philippines ready to host economic leaders in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit?
Bea Cupin reports. - Rappler.com
Philippine security officials are leaving nothing to chance for the visit of several world leaders, including US President Barack Obama and China President Xi Jinping, for the APEC Economic Leaders’ meeting.
On Saturday, November 14, days before the meet, the inter-agency task force in charge of APEC security holds a full scale simulation to practice and spot loopholes in their plans.
Choppers buzz overhead, military tanks occupy the street and companies of soldiers and police flock the venue to practice their response to the country’s “worst-case scenario” – a bombing or terrorist attack.
Elite anti-terrorism from both the Philippine military and police lead the exercise at the PICC, the venue for the economic leaders’ meeting.
It’s timely. On the same day of the dry run security alerts worldwide heighten,
following a terrorist attack in Paris that kills over 100 people.
On Saturday, President Benigno Aquino III convenes the Cabinet security cluster.
DIRECTOR GENERAL RICARDO MARQUEZ, TASK FORCE APEC COMMANDER: Our security plan for the APEC summit includes security plans for a terrorist attack. So we were instructed by our president to prepare for a worst case scenario. When you have prepared for quite a long time, your only concern would be the people you put on the ground would deliver as trained, as prepared for we remain confident that we could weather any security challenges for our APEC hosting.
On top of terrorist threats, police in the Philippines also worry about protesters.
Over 32,000 personnel are deployed to different areas around Metro Manila to secure the APEC meet.
10,000 of those are civil disturbance management personnel from the PNP.
It’s a security plan that is almost one year in the making.
The head of the APEC security task force and the chief of the Philippine National Police says he is confident in his men and women.
Terrorists, violent protest actions, typhoons, earthquakes, missing bags, Metro Manila’s notorious traffic, and VIP cars breaking down –– these are only a handful of problems security officials have prepared for in the lead-up to the big summit.
All eyes are on Manila as it plays host to the APEC Economic Leaders meeting next week and in the wake of world leaders' condemnation of the Paris attacks. Will almost a year of preparations be enough?
Bea Cupin, Rappler, Manila