Police: No threats to ASEAN Summit in November

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NCRPO Director Chief Supt. Oscar Albayalde (file)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 26) — Tens of thousands of security forces will be deployed and are on alert for any possible retaliatory attacks by supporters of the ISIS-linked Maute group during the ASEAN Summit in two weeks time, police said Thursday.

There is no imminent threat, but "there's always that possibility and expect natin dito is yung mga supporters, not necessarily members," said National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Director Chief Supt. Oscar Albayalde in a Palace press briefing.

[Translation: There's always that possibility and what we're expecting here is that the supporters do something, not necessarily the members.]

He assured that Metro Manila is safe and secure for the public and foreign leaders and delegates of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and its related meetings that run through November 10 to 15.

Albayalde said the government will deploy over 33,000 security personnel in meeting venues, routes and hotels that will host the delegates.

"We will be augmented by police regions 1-5, Cordillera and the Armed Forces of the Philippines," he said. "Full deployment of contingents will be from November 10 to 15 or until the last delegate departs our country."

Authorities will place on lockdown a number of areas hosting the meetings, such as the Cultural Center of the Philippines Complex, the Philippine International Convention Center and Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila in Pasay City.

All foreign leaders will arrive and leave through the Clark International Airport in Clark, Pampanga, 80 kilometers north of Manila. The ASEAN Summit will take place in Clark on November 13 and 14.

Read: Commercial flights in Manila to encounter "minimal disruptions"

Albayalde said portions of the North Luzon Expressway will be closed at certain intervals to give way for the leaders and their entourage. Some of the leaders will arrive as early as November 11.

"Time gap is, I think, a few minutes," he said. "Mga 15 minutes before, then 5 minutes after. 'Yun ang tinitignan para di masyadong maabala yung traffic."

[Translation: The time gap for the closures will be, I think, a few minutes. The temporary shutdown will be 15 minutes before and 5 minutes after they pass. That's what is being planned so that traffic flow isn't too affected.]

The Philippine National Police is suspending permits to carry firearms in Metro Manila and Central Luzon from November 1 to 15.

Government forces declared on October 23 an end to combat operations in Marawi City against the Maute group. Marawi is more than 1,500 kilometers south of Metro Manila.

Read: Fighting in Marawi City is over

On Monday, President Rodrigo Duterte urged Filipinos to remain vigilant despite the end of the fighting of Marawi.

Read: Duterte: Prepare for possible terrorist plots after Marawi liberation

Security officials are also appealing to the public to be alert and report suspicious activities.