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Manila on heightened alert for ASEAN 2017

Manila, Philippines – Security in the country’s capital has been tightened, with the Philippine hosting of the 2017 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit 2017 underway. The summit opened on Wednesday, 26 April 2017 and will end on Sunday, 30 April 2017.

As host, the country will welcome heads of state of ASEAN member-countries. Member-country delegates, their respective staff and personnel, as well as foreign media are also among those flocking to Manila.

The ASEAN Security Task Force has employed more than 27,000 personnel to provide security tasks in the duration of the summit. The Philippine National Police (PNP) has ensured the public that they will leave nothing to chance and have prepared contingency plans for any unforeseen event. On Wednesday morning, a 3000-strong anti-riot police deployment was stationed along Roxas Boulevard to deter any intruders, as the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) Complex—the main venue for the Summit—will be on lockdown for the duration of the event. Only vehicles with ASEAN pass cards will be allowed to enter and establishments around the complex will be closed.

Hotel security providers are also on their toes, as among their guests for the next five days are leaders of ASEAN member-nations and their personnel. The PNP had met with mall and hotel security providers last year to orient them on the security protocols.

As far as traffic is concerned, a stop-and-go scheme around the hotels where heads of state will temporarily reside will be in effect from 28 to 30 of April. Vehicles will have to stop while the heads of state go to and from their hotels, then will proceed once the delegates have cleared the area. The PNP have received orders from President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to ensure that the local commuting public will not be affected; as such, no roads have been closed except for those in the CCP Complex.

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has released a traffic rerouting scheme, for the public’s reference. The MMDA earlier called on the public to avoid making nonessential trips to Manila, Makati, and Pasay starting tomorrow till April 29 to avoid aggravating traffic in roads.

Manholes have also been covered and speed bumps along roads in the area have been removed.

The Coast Guard has also implemented a no-sail zone policy around the shoreline during the summit: Sea vessels are prohibited to go within one nautical mile of the area from Mall of Asia to the South Harbor until Saturday.

Anti-aircraft guns and armored personnel carriers have been deployed and are stationed around the CPP Complex. Jails that hold suspected terrorists have also been raided. No mobile phone signal-jamming devices have been used, as no imminent threats have been reported.

PNP Chief Ronald Dela Rosa assured the public that no terror threat has been reported but the PNP will not take any chances.

Militant groups expected to stage a rally on Saturday protesting ASEAN Summit will not be allowed to go near the CCP Complex, to ensure the security of the VIP visitors. Protesters will be allowed to air their grievances with or without permits, provided they will stage such protests peacefully without damage or injury to property or persons. The PNP are ready to make arrests if protesters do start trouble.

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