Security heightened for ASEAN meeting; 3,000 cops to be deployed

Police in Central Visayas (PRO-7) has heightened security preparations for the three-day conference of Association of Southeast Asian (ASEAN) finance ministers in the province starting September 21.

Efforts to safeguard the incoming delegates of the 10-nation bloc who will hold their meeting in Panglao are being spearheaded by PRO-7 director Chief Supt. Jose Mario Espino.

For his part, Bohol Provincial Police Office chief Sr. Supt. Felipe Natividad said that 3,000 police personnel are set to be deployed to secure the foreign dignitaries.

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According to Natividad, 150 to 200 delegates including ASEAN finance ministers and their staff are expected to join the event.

Meanwhile, police intelligence units continue to conduct monitoring operations in a bid to quell any emerging threat that could mar the 10-nation conference.

This was a followup to a security briefing conducted last month between Espino, National Intelligence Coordinating Agency chief Susan Vallor, Chief Supt. Nestor Bergonia of the ASEAN National Organizing Committee and 302nd Infantry Brigade commander Brig. Gen. Arnulfo Matanguihan.

In April, ASEAN Summit related meetings were held in Bohol despite presence of suspected Abu Sayyaf bandits in the province.

No violence or any terroristic activities were carried out during the four-day event and the extremists were wiped out by government troops over a month after they infiltrated the town of Inabanga in April.

Early in August, the 34-nation Asian Cooperation Dialogue was also held in Panglao.

Auxiliary forces from the police, military and other government agencies were sent to Panglao and surrounding areas to ensure the safety of visiting delegates.(R. Tutas)



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