Paris terror attacks: Reactions: Philippines

Military and police on highest alert for Apec summit in the Philippines

Members of the Philippines' Special Action Force at the Apec summit venue in Manila after a drill last Saturday. The capital is on lockdown, as more than 7,000 world leaders and delegates have begun gathering there for the annual series of meetings f
Members of the Philippines' Special Action Force at the Apec summit venue in Manila after a drill last Saturday. The capital is on lockdown, as more than 7,000 world leaders and delegates have begun gathering there for the annual series of meetings from today until Thursday.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

The Philippines has placed its military and police force on their highest security alert level to head off possible terrorist attacks during this week's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit.

More than 7,000 world leaders and delegates have begun gathering in Manila for the annual series of meetings from today until Thursday.

Chief Superintendent Wilben Mayor, spokesman for the Philippine National Police, told reporters the nation's entire police force is on "red alert" after the series of attacks in Paris that left at least 129 dead.

Colonel Restituto Padilla said the military is also on full alert, while Interior Minister Senen Sarmiento said security forces around metropolitan Manila are now "beyond the regular deployment scale".

"Our security officials are monitoring and assessing the situation, and are taking necessary precautions to ensure the safety, security and well-being of all delegates… There is nothing to worry about. The situation is under control," Foreign Ministry spokesman Charles Jose said in a text message.

Over 20,000 policemen, soldiers, firemen and rescue, emergency and first-aid workers have been enlisted to help secure the 17 heads of state who will attend the Apec Economic Leaders' Meeting on Wednesday and Thursday, including United States President Barack Obama and Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet arrived yesterday, the first head of state to land in Manila.

With dry runs held since early Saturday, Manila is already on lockdown. At least two major highways are being closed to traffic. The capital is on a week-long holiday, and the skies over the capital will be a no-fly zone for three days this week.

In a statement issued after the Paris attacks, Philippine President Benigno Aquino said: "There is no credible threat registered at this time."

Chief Supt Mayor said: "No specific threat has been monitored in the country, but target-hardening measures on vital installations, particularly airports, seaports, train stations and other public areas have been further elevated to maximise deterrence against unforeseen events."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 16, 2015, with the headline 'Military and police on highest alert level'. Print Edition | Subscribe