THE PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) conducted on Thursday, April 12, a simulation exercise (SIMEX) of a possible terror attack in Metro Manila to ensure that government agencies involved in responding to such an incident know what to do.
The exercise which lasted for an hour was conducted at the Araneta Cubao bus terminal with a scenario that a bomb planted by a terrorist exploded, prompting two policemen to respond.
However, they were confronted by two terrorists which resulted in a gunfight.
The first terrorist was gunned down while the other boarded a bus and took the passengers hostage.
Giving the police a 15-minute ultimatum or else they will kill the hostages, the "hostage taker" demanded for the release of a detained terrorist and a phone call from President Rodrigo Duterte.
While "negotiation" was ongoing, the police imposed a total lockdown in the vicinity. Medical teams and bomb sniffing dogs and robots then arrived at the scene. An improvised explosive device was recovered which was detonated by the police explosives division.
The police deployed a sniper who took down the "terrorist".
Police operatives then rushed inside the bus and guided the hostages who were later on debriefed. The suspects, on the other hand, were brought to the hospital, where they were declared dead on arrival.
Incoming PNP chief Oscar Albayalde said the exercise was a success although there were areas that need more practice and improvement such as the crowd management.
“Well, generally okay naman. I think the SOP was followed. Meron sigurong mga konti pa to improve and alalahanin natin dito na iba naman talaga` nangyayari on the ground, kung ano talaga ang reality (There is still room for improvement. We have to consider that what happens on the ground is different from reality). We have to be realistic as possible para makita natin kung ano pa talaga ‘yung pagkukulang (to determine the loopholes),” he said.
“Well probably wala naman tayo masyadong nakitang major (na naging issue), siguro I think we really have to train pa ‘yung ating mga tauhan. We have to move fast, nakita naman natin na although it's a simulation exercise we understand but in all incidents like this ‘yung movement talaga napakabilis. Seconds ang pinag-uusapan because we are speaking of lives ditto,” he added.
However, Albayalde said they have not monitored any possible threat in Metro Manila although a threat is always just around the corner and the police should always be prepared for any eventualities.
“What we should do is continue to strengthen our target hardening measures which is part ito ng ating target hardening measures na ginagawa para just in case na talagang may mangyari, knock on wood wala sana, but then kung talagang ano we have to really be prepared,” he said.
He also noted the importance of procurement of upgraded equipment and facilities necessary for such scenario as well as the cooperation of all the concerned government agency. (SunStar Philippines)