ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (AA) — A 60,000-strong security force will prevent any possible local or international threat during the weeklong 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit starting Nov. 13, officials said.
“We are on full alert status from November 8 to 15. That is seven days, no going home. We will be deployed to EDSA. No one is exempted,” GMA News quoted Philippine National Police chief Director Ronald dela Rosa as saying during the PNP flag ceremony Monday.
On Sunday, a send-off ceremony for the 60,000-man contingent, composed of the members of the ASEAN Security Task Force, Philippine Coast Guard, and Philippine Air force was held at Quirino Grandstand.
The security forces demonstrated their respective land, water, and air assets and also performed a water cannon salute while a civil disturbance management exercise was also reenacted during the ceremony.
“The deployment of the huge security force shows that the government is ready and equipped in providing safety to the delegates and the public during the ASEAN summit conference,” Interior and local government chief Catalino Cuy told newsmen.
As part of the security measures, Cuy, who chairs the Committee on Security, Peace and Order, Emergency Preparedness and Response for the summit, said no-fly zones will be enforced over selected areas between Nov. 9 and 15.
These include Clarkfield Special Economic and Freeport Zone in Pampanga; all general aviation flights within 10,000 feet altitude and 40 nautical miles radius; Rizal Park, Manila; all aircraft operations within 10,000 feet altitude and four nautical miles radius; Manila — all general aircrafts with very high frequency omni-directional range within 10,000 feet altitude and 40 nautical miles.
Cuy added drone operations will also be banned within 40 nautical miles of Clark and Rizal Park from Nov. 9-17. Sangley Airport in Cavite, Plaridel Airport in Bulacan, and Subic International Airport in Olongapo will be closed to civilian aircraft operations from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Nov. 9 to 15.
At the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, only takeoffs will be allowed on Runway 13, and landings on Runway 31, from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Nov. 12 to 15.
“The coming week will serve as the culmination of our year-long efforts… this week is even more important as the heads of state and head of government of ASEAN member nations as well as the dialogue partners will be attending,” said Cuy.
Twenty-one world leaders and the United Nations Security Council Secretary General Antonio Guterres are expected to arrive in the country on Nov. 11, but related events to the summit begin as early as Wednesday.
On behalf of President Rodrigo Duterte, the official reminded the security force to serve with full adherence, calling on them to serve with complete care.
“Let’s help one another for a peaceful and productive ASEAN,” they told the security forces.
Meanwhile, Dela Rosa bared that the PNP intelligence community has joined forces with some of the world’s top intelligence units to secure the ASEAN events.
“All are focused here in the Philippines and we have intelligence fusion, exchanges between our Philippine intelligence community and foreign counterparts so this is really a big help,” he said.
As part of the defensive measures, security and intelligence authorities are monitoring the possibility that the remaining Maute supporters are capable of carrying out possible attacks amid preparations for the 31st Asean Summit this month.