DAVAO CITY, Philippines – An inter-agency task group of at least 3,000 personnel will be deployed for the launching of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations 2017 to be held in Davao City, a ranking official of the Police Regional Office 11 announced Monday.
“Our task force is [composed of] around 3,000 composed of the Philippine National Police, members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Bureau of Fire and Protection, the Philippine Coast Guard, and different agencies such as Department of Interior and Local Government, and the Department of Health,” said PRO 11 Chief Supt. Manuel Gaerlan during the deployment of forces for the ASEAN Summit in PRO 11 headquarters at Camp Quintin Merecido, Buhangin here.
A total number of 21 government agencies tapped under the Committee on Security, Peace and Order, and Emergency Preparedness and Response of the ASEAN Security Task Force will be working together to secure the event, Gaerlan said.
Starting on Tuesday, Jan. 10, 1,446 police and military personnel will be initially deployed at key locations in the city to conduct familiarization and pre-deployment orientations. The remaining personnel will be working in shifts to ensure 24-hour security.
For an added layer of security, Gaerlan also disclosed that non-uniform covert personnel will also be deployed.
“Some will be wearing barongs, civilian clothes, [they will be] included in the crowd. Or maybe acting as waiters, and media personalities,” Gaerlan said.
While maintaining that there is no specific threat, Gaerlan said Davao City has been one of the areas nationwide to be designated with a threat of level three, which could mean possible disruption of regular activities. Gaerlan however, remains confident that they will be able to secure the more than 1,000 expected guests for the ASEAN summit.
“We guarantee their security. We encourage them to visit Davao. We must not be cowed by terrorist threats because if we do, then the terrorists win,” Gaerlan said.
Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said the government will officially launch ASEAN 2017 in Davao City “to raise awareness regarding the country’s summit hosting and its benefits.”
The Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) will be the lead committee on media affairs and communications to spread awareness and educate the public about the ASEAN, Andanar said.
Andanar said while 81 percent of ASEAN citizens have heard of the regional grouping, only 24 percent have a basic understanding of what it is and its purpose.
The ASEAN launching will be held at the SMX Convention Center in Lanang on Jan. 15, and will be attended by at least 1,000 invited guests composed of cabinet secretaries, members of the diplomatic corp, among others. The event will also be launching the ASEAN chairmanship President Rodrigo Duterte for the year 2017, with the theme “Partnering for Change, Engaging the World.”(davaotoday.com)