OVER 60,000 security forces were mobilized Sunday, November 5, for the upcoming 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit 2017 and related meetings which will be held in Manila on November 13 to 17.

Acting Local Government Secretary Catalino Cuy, chair of the Asean 2017 Committee on Security, Peace and Order, Emergency Preparedness and Response, spearheaded the send-off of the government forces in a ceremony held at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila.

Cuy assured the security forces are also prepared for physical and cyber threats. A lockdown will be implemented in the perimeter of the summit venues as well as in the hotels hosting the delegates.

“Aside from the large deployment of troops, huge resources will be at the ready to monitor, respond and provide support during the summit,” Cuy said.

Resources include 203 patrol cars, 394 motorcycles, 22 armored cars, 30 helicopters, 59 fire trucks, 94 ambulances, 125 explosive detection dogs or K9 and 82 sniper teams came from 21 government agencies who will take part in ensuring that the conduct of the said summit will be peaceful.

Cuy also said several joint task groups and sub-task Units have also been organized and are on deck with their personnel and logistics to ensure that the summit will run as smoothly and peacefully as possible.

The send-off ceremony started with a mass followed by the testing of blinkers, alarms, water cannons and other security equipment as well as a demonstration of civil disturbance management which will be implemented during protest rallies.

Also present during the ceremony were Ambassador Marciano Paynor Jr., director general for Operations for Asean; Salvador Medialdea, Asean chairperson; Police Director Napoleon Taas, commander of Asean Security Task Force; AFP Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Rey Leonardo Guerrero; and PNP Chief Police Director General Ronald Dela Rosa.

Meanwhile, Dela Rosa said the 19,000 police officers who are part of the 60,000 security force for the Asean Summit are all set and ready.

For its part, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Restituto Padilla said the Joint Task Force National Capital Region which will be led by Brigadier General Jesus Manangquil has long been prepared for the said event.

"The JTF NCR, as the Metro Sentinel of the National Seat of Government, has long been planning and preparing for contingency measures to address any worst-case threat scenario and BGen Manangquil Jr. assures the public of ably providing the security coverage for the venues as well as the safety of the people and all our visitors," he said.

At least 10 heads of state of Asean member-nations as well as United States President Donald Trump, dialogue partners, observer states and other invited delegates from the Asia-Pacific region are expected to attend the summit.

Malacañang earlier declared November 13-15 as special non-working days in Metro Manila, Bulacan and Pampanga to avoid public inconvenience.

Metro Manila mayors, however, extended the suspension of classes in all levels in their areas of responsibility on November 16-17 to make it convenient for delegates who wish to explore the metro. (SunStar Philippines)