The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) four-day Senior Officials’ and Ministers’ (SOM) Meeting kicks off today in Bohol, specifically Panglao.
Gov. Edgar M. Chatto and Police Regional Office (PRO-7) Chief and Task Group (TG) Bohol Head PC/Supt. Jose Mario Espino led Friday’s send-off ceremony for the 3,762 officers and men from 21 government agencies who will today start manning the 275th ASEAN meeting.
This is out of the total of 282 ASEAN meetings here which the Philippines is hosting this year.
This is also Bohol’s fourth ASEAN hosting this year, specifically requested by its international counterparts and the ASEAN NOC (National Organizing Committee).
As can be remembered, it was in April this year when Bohol was first commissioned by the ASEAN NOC to host, specifically, only one meeting.
But the Boholanos’ sincere and warm hospitality and the Provincial Government’s most efficient handling of that very first and only pre-scheduled ASEAN meeting in Bohol paved the way to subsequent other hostings despite the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) intrusion during that very specific month.
But even with almost anything that might undesirably bound to happen, TG Bohol is specifically focused on keeping its record clean; that is, there must be no unfavorable ASEAN-related incidents during the meetings’ duration.
With the actual meetings set from November 26 to 29, Anthony R. Damalerio, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officer (PDRRMO), earlier clarified that their team needs to be in the field for four extra days, two days before and two days after, as extra precaution.
PS/Supt. Dennis Palo Agustin, Regional Director for Operations and a former PNP Director of Bohol, said the security task forces formally deployed for this month’s Bohol SOM meetings in the Philippines form part of the total personnel for the ASEAN’s 50th Founding Anniversary of its 10 Asian Nation Bloc.
TG Bohol Deputy Commander Brig. General Arnulfo Matanguihan explained during Friday’s send-off ceremony right after a Holy Mass that TG Bohol consists of different groups like the Task Force (TF) on Peace and Order, TF on Security, and TF on Emergency Preparedness and Response (EPR) under the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD).
PS/Supt. Agustin heads the TF Peace and Order, Engr. Neil Balaba of the TF EPR and PS/Supt. Franklin Moises Mabanag leads the one on TF Security, with PNP Regional Director Espino as the over-all TG Bohol Commander, BGen. Matanguihan added.
He explained further that the Boholanos’ sincere and warm hospitality and the Provincial Government’s most efficient handling of ASEAN meetings here despite the Abu Sayyaf Group intrusion last April 2017, which fatefully coincided with the first, and supposedly, the only pre-scheduled ASEAN meeting here in Bohol, prompted the ASEAN NOC to schedule some of its subsequent meetings here.
Gov. Chatto told those deployed that their unwavering efforts in keeping everyone safe especially during these meetings is one of the main reasons why Bohol ASEAN hostings are a great success and free from untoward incidents.
To close his speech, the governor thanked everyone for their staunch support, cooperation and collaboration and appealed for more unity and shared partnerships in future international undertakings such as this one. (JANETV/PGBh/EDCom)