By AARON B. RECUENCO
The Philippine National Police (PNP) urged yesterday the protesters to stay away from the direct routes, meeting venues and other places where all the leaders attending the 31st ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Summit are expected to go and stay.
PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa said all the areas which were locked down are expected to be guarded tightly by security forces and any attempt to enter and converge in the areas will be prevented.
Among them, according to Dela Rosa, are the vicinity of the Clark Freeport where attending leaders are expected to arrive through its international airport, the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) and the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) where the meetings would be held.
Also prohibited from the protesters are the delegates’ routes which include EDSA and Roxas Boulevard, as well as other areas where roads leading to them were locked down.
While he instructed his men to exercise maximum tolerance, Dela Rosa said they will not compromise the security of the delegates since any untoward incident, no matter how minor it is, would put the country in bad light.
“We will drive them away because any untoward incident like even minor traffic incident or even a case of placard-throwing will certainly become a big news,” said Dela Rosa in an interview over dzBB.
“So it is really important for us to work together. This event is very important to the future of our country. So let us just think that even if our country is small, we should think of the welfare of our country,” he added.
The Chief PNP said the crucial days are from Sunday to Tuesday when the delegates are expected to arrive.
More than 60,000 security forces from various government agencies were mobilized to secure the 31st ASEN Summit. So far, security officials said they have not monitored any serious threat on the event.
As part of the security measures, the PNP declared a gun ban in Metro Manila and two nearby regions while police forces in the same areas were placed on highest security alert status.