The Philippine National Police (PNP) sent off 3,000 police personnel at 3 p.m. yesterday in Panglao to join the security force for the three-day 34th ASEAN Maritime Transport technical working group (TWG) meetings that will start on September 21.
Department of Transportation (DOTr) Sec. Arthur Tugade is expected to be here to welcome 150-200 delegates, particularly finance ministers, from the 10 ASEAN member countries on the opening day.
The delegates will tackle the master plan and feasibility study on the establishment of an ASEAN Ro-Ro shipping network and short sea shipping, maritime or logistics education training landscape in ASEAN member states, roadmap towards an integrated and cooperative transport, among others.
PNP-7 Regional Director Jose Mario Espino and heads of other local and national security officers were here last week for the coordination meeting at the PPA Port Office in Tagbilaran City where they tackled the preparation for the ASEAN meeting.
Also on Thursday last week, Gov. Edgar Chatto, Tubigon Mayor William Jao, PPA personnel led by Bohol Port Manager James Gantalao led the launching of the information kiosk at Tubigon Port.
PNP-7 provided augmentation force from the regional office in Cebu City to help secure the entire Panglao area and some strategic areas in mainland Bohol in the duration of the ASEAN meetings.
Police intelligence units have also been entrusted to monitor any concern on security and clear the areas to be visited by the dignitaries aside from the venues of the meetings in Panglao.
This week’s event is the provincial government’s third hosting of international delegates from Asian nations this year.
During last month’s joint meeting of the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) and the Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Council (PADAC), Chatto discussed the security measures with officials of the Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines, National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) and other security officials.
Among the security officials who came to discuss the security measures were Espino, National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) -7 Director Susan Vallora, Chief Superintendent Nestor Bergonia of the ASEAN National Organizing Committee and the 302nd Infantry Brigade commander, Brigadier General Arnulfo Matanguihan.
Bohol had just hosted the four-day Asian Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) on August 7-10 in Panglao attended by 34 Asian countries.
On April 19-21, Bohol also hosted the 10-nation ASEAN meeting of the Intersessional Regional Economic Partnership Trade Negotiating Committee (ISSL-RCEP TNC) also held in Panglao.
After the April ASEAN meeting, the National Organizing Committee for the ASEAN Summit relayed to Chatto on how the provincial government’s hosting impressed them.
It was then that the NOC informed Chatto that an all-Asian-nation gathering would follow, and Bohol, indeed, hosted the ACD early this month.
The upcoming ASEAN meeting of finance ministers will be the second ASEAN meeting that Bohol will host this year.
In November, heads of states will gather in Manila for the ASEAN Summit where agreements will be signed as results of the meetings.
Chatto had earlier stated that hosting ASEAN meetings is significant to Bohol as it places the province at the vantage point to the global community.
It is expected that when the New Bohol Airport opens next year, the ASEAN will be the direct connections of Bohol.
The three pillars of the ASEAN Community serve as guide for the interdependent relations of the member nations- -political-security community, economic community, and socio-cultural community- -include the aim to give opportunities for the poorer sectors of society in the Southeast Asian nations,” Chatto explained.
“The ASEAN economic community aims to establish a highly competitive region competitive region with equitable economic development and reduced poverty and socio-economic disparities.”
Among the aims and purposes of ASEAN is to “provide assistance to each other in the form of training and research facilities in the educational, professional, technical and administrative spheres; and to collaborate more effectively for the greater utilisation of their agriculture and industries, the expansion of their trade, including the study of the problems of international commodity trade, the improvement of their transportation and communications facilities and the raising of the living standards of their peoples”.