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A tremendous security problem for the PNP

SOME 60,000 policemen from the Central Luzon and the National Capital Region of the Philippine National Police (PNP) will be assigned to provide security at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Leaders Summit set on October 23-24 in Clark, Pampanga, and Metro Manila.

That’s less than two weeks from today – two weeks during which our police forces must prepare and rehearse for the meetings and the trips the 10 ASEAN leaders will be taking between Clark and Manila through the Northern Luzon Expressway to Caloocan City, Manila, and Pasay City. Of the 60,000 PNP personnel, 5,000 will secure the ASEAN meetings in Clark; the bulk – about 55,000 men – will be deployed in Metro Manila.

Each trip of a convoy of vehicles will be a major operation. We already have a major traffic problem on ordinary days in Metro Manila. With the leaders of the 10 ASEAN nations attending meetings in Clark and in Pasay City, each trip will call for a major traffic and security operation.

And that is only the beginning. The 10 ASEAN leaders from Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam will be joined on November 13-14 by the leaders of eight other nations for the ASEAN Summit and Related Meetings. These are the leaders of Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, South Korea, and the United States (US).

President Donald Trump of the US has already confirmed his attendance. It will be Trump’s first visit to this part of the world since his election to the presidency last year. It comes at a time when the US is engaged in a very dangerous exchange of threats of nuclear destruction with North Korea. And it should serve to firm up PH-US relations in the wake of some very harsh words exchanged by some officials of the two nations.

These meetings are of such great significance in international and Philippine affairs. More than a traffic problem, each trip and each meeting of these leaders will a major security concern for our police forces.

We trust that the PNP, which has been embroiled lately in controversies related to killings in the ongoing anti-drug campaign, will prove equal to this tremendous responsibility.