MANILA – The Philippine National Police (PNP) will deploy some 33,000 police officers during the country’s hosting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and Related Meetings this November.
National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Director Oscar Albayalde said the PNP will be under full alert status until the end of the summit.
“It is our prayer that as we have recorded zero crime incident with the 203 concluded meetings in NCR (national capital region), this final event will be as peaceful and as incident-free as we complete the hosting of the 31st ASEAN Summit,” Albayalde said in a news conference in Malacañang.
“We solicit the cooperation, patience and understanding of the general public as we conduct checkpoints, temporary lockdowns on this occasion. We likewise ask the public to be actively vigilant and report to authorities anything that is out of the ordinary,” he added.
The concluding summit among ASEAN member states and dialogue partners will gather 22 world leaders, among them United States President Donald Trump, and some 3,000 delegates.
On the run-up to the international event, Albayalde said among major concerns is the possible retaliation of Islamic State sympathizers during the event following the defeat of the ISIS-linked Maute group in Marawi City.
He, however, assured the public that the government continuously monitors individuals who might spoil the occasion.
“There might be some people, ‘yung mga radical, with radical mind, ‘yun ‘yung mino-monitor natin lalong-lalo na dito sa NCR,” he said.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier designated the Clark International Airport in Pampanga as the port for arrivals and departures of foreign dignitaries participating in the ASEAN summit to spare the main airport in Manila from flight disruptions.
But traffic buildup may still be expected as leaders will be given priority when passing roads between Clark and Manila.
Albayalde said a portion of the North Luzon Expressway from Clark to Manila would be closed to traffic each time a world leader passes through.
“It will be partially locked down, yes. Stop lahat ‘yun... And all the toll gates, walang lalabas doon,” he said.
Albayalde also reminded gun owners that their permit to carry firearms outside their homes would be suspended from Nov. 1 to 15 in Metro Manila and Central Luzon.
Meanwhile, Albayalde said the NCRPO is also preparing for the observance of All Souls' Day across the metro, with at least 5,355 police officers to be deployed in 82 cemeteries, 21 columbaria, 182 churches, 75 bus terminals, two seaports and four airports in Metro Manila.
Albayalde said the police force would be augmented by 3,704 barangay security personnel, 9,163 security guards, and 1,067 civilian volunteers.
“Coordination has also been made with LGUs (local government units) and other government agencies for the provision of fire trucks, ambulances and health personnel that would attend to emergencies,” Albayalde said.
Albayalde added that an advanced command post outside the Manila North Cemetery, Metro Manila's biggest, will be established, while police assistance desks shall also be set up in all cemeteries, ports, major bus terminals, churches and other places of convergence.