The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit meetings set in Bohol later this month will push through even as the province is reeling from a firefight between government forces and the bandit Abu Sayyaf Group, local officials said Wednesday.
Asian business and trade officials who will participate in the ASEAN and Hong Kong Free Trade Agreement meetings are expected to arrive in the province barely a week after the military and police cleared out Abu Sayyaf bandits in the municipality of Inabanga.
The summit meetings are set April 18 to 22.
"There is no let up for the ASEAN for Bohol," Governor Edgar Chatto said.
As of April 12, the Army has declared Bohol "cleared," saying the province may go back to "business as usual," Bohol provincial administrator Alfonso Damalerio II said.
Both the army and the police will deploy additional forces in Bohol during its hosting of ASEAN meetings.
Four thousand soldiers and policemen will be deployed starting this Saturday to ensure that ASEAN events here will push through, Gen. Noli Taliño, chief of police in Central Visayas, said.
--- with reports from Annie Perez, ABS-CBN News.