PNP monitoring critical areas, groups as country hosts 50th ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting, Related Meetings
The Philippine National Police has been monitoring critical areas and some groups to ensure a peaceful and orderly hosting of 50th ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting and Related Meetings in Manila later this week, an official said on Tuesday.
In a press briefing in Malacanang, National Capital Region Police Office Director Oscar Albayalde, however, assured that so far there was no threat being monitored as delegates from the 27 Association of Southeast Asian Nations and dialogue partners have started arriving in Manila for the AMM and other meetings on August 2 to 8.
"As of this time, so far we have not received any threat, although we are monitoring these critical areas, the enclaves, and we are monitoring some groups who are actually present here in Metro Manila who are Balik Islam and other former members of the ABB (Alex Buncayao Brigade), who suspectedly joined Balik Islam. So these are all being monitored in relation to this meeting," he said.
Specifically, he said the critical areas being monitored by the intelligence operatives from the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the PNP are the Maharlika village in Taguig City, and Quiapo and Baseco Compound, both in Manila.
Maharlika, Quiapo and Baseco are the areas in Metro Manila where most Muslim Filipinos have been living.
"(W)e have to conduct these target-hardening measures to prevent any untoward incident for this ASEAN meeting," Albayalde stressed.
He also assured that the intelligence agencies have not monitored any member of the Islamic State-inspired Maute Terror Group who could have escaped war-torn Marawi City and were in Metro Manila.
Albayalde said the government expects 1,700 foreign participants in the regional meetings and some 13,000 uniformed personnel with 1,286 attached personnel from other agencies would be utilized for the security of the delegates.
With the different activities lined up for the event, he said they would lock down some of the streets, particularly those in the vicinity of the Philippine International Convention Center, Cultural Center of the Philippines and Sofitel Hotel in Pasay City.
On August 8 when the ceremonial lighting and parade of ASEAN Lantern would be held, portion of the streets from Luneta or Kilometer Zero going to CCP Complex would be closed for about an hour or two, he said.
Flow of traffic would be momentarily stopped also whenever the ministers pass by, he added.
Department of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Robespierre Bolivar, in the same press briefing, said they hope that President Rodrigo Duterte would grace the formal opening ceremony of the 50th AMM on August 5. Celerina Monte/DMS