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Security ready for Asean summit

ASEAN holds two leaders’ summits in a year but the meetings of the member-countries’ representatives are done year-long. The Philippines, as this year’s chairman of the ASEAN, will host the second summit on Nov. 10 to 14 in Clark, Pampanga. File photo

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines has completed security preparations for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit on April 26 to 29 where the 10 leaders of the regional grouping are expected to attend.

Director Napoleon Taas, head of the ASEAN Security Task Force (STF) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) chief information officer, said everything is in place for the security of ASEAN leaders and other delegates more than a month before the summit.

ASEAN holds two leaders’ summits in a year but the meetings of the member-countries’ representatives are done year-long. The Philippines, as this year’s chairman of the ASEAN, will host the second summit on Nov. 10 to 14 in Clark, Pampanga.

The ASEAN leaders’ meeting is set on April 29 at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City to be followed by a two-hour retreat at the Coconut Palace prior to the gala dinner at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila hotel. The leaders depart the country the following day.

The venues are all within the Cultural Center of the Philippines Complex in Pasay City.

Taas was tasked by PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa to head the year-long security for the ASEAN summits and related meetings because of his vast experience in securing visiting heads of state, including the visit of former US president Bill Clinton when Taas was still with the Presidential Security Group.

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He was also commander of the joint security groups for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) held in the country in 2015.

Chief Supt. Nestor Bergonia, head secretariat of the ASEAN STF, said the ASEAN summit is three times more challenging to secure because it involves 128 related meetings compared to 36 during the APEC summit here in 2015.

The APEC heads of economies also visited the country only once in 2015 while the ASEAN heads of states or governments would be in the country twice this year.

The five-day 33rd ASEAN related meeting in Bacolod City ended last March 24 without incident, Taas said.

Since the ASEAN leaders’ summit will be held in Metro Manila, Taas said they would have to strike a balance between security protocol and public inconvenience.

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