Philippine forces on alert, assure APEC summit's safety

AP News
Posted: Nov 14, 2015 2:37 AM
Philippine forces on alert, assure APEC summit's safety

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Philippine forces went on the highest alert Saturday following the deadly attacks in Paris, in a bid to ensure the safety of President Barack Obama and other Asia-Pacific leaders who will gather in Manila for an annual summit next week.

National police chief Director-General Ricardo Marquez said extra security steps, including a gun ban in metropolitan Manila, will reinforce the security of thousands of delegates, including 19 heads of state, attending the Nov. 18-19 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit at a convention complex by Manila Bay.

No specific threat has been monitored anywhere in the country, but security was strengthened at airports, seaports, train stations and other public areas "to maximize deterrence against unforeseen events," national police spokesman Chief Superintendent Wilben Mayor said.

President Benigno Aquino III expressed outrage over the Paris attacks that killed at least 120 people. The Philippines, he said, stands with France as France has stood by the Southeast Asian country when it was devastated by deadly Typhoon Haiyan two years ago.

"We stand with France now in the firm belief that the light must never dim in Paris," Aquino said.

He urged Filipinos in the country to be vigilant.

The Philippines has faced numerous terrorist attacks, including a 2004 bombing that ignited an inferno and killed 116 people on board a ferry, but threats from al-Qaida-linked militants have waned amid years of U.S.-backed Philippine offensives. Filipino forces also continue to fight communist insurgents mostly in the countryside.