On November 5, we faced the media during the Send Off rites for the 60,000 troops we will deploy and mobilize to provide security and safety to our world leaders, heads of states, delegates and the general public during the 31stASEAN Summit. And here we are now before you again to report to you how we have successfully performed our duty with zero incident as we have clearly envisioned and planned.

 

The work did not actually start during the Send Off Ceremony. The planning began more than a year ago when all the 21 member agencies converged to create the ASEAN Committee on Security, Peace and Order, and Emergency Preparedness and Response (CSPOEPR). The ASEAN CSPOEPR served as the strategic body that ensured greater coordination and collaboration in carrying out what proved to be one of the biggest security challenges for the government and the country with more than 20 of the most prominent and powerful world leaders coming in and with more areas in the country to be covered.

It was not a walk in the park but we were able to deliver what was expected from us because the hard work started early on with the numerous drills, simulation exercises, critiquing activities, and rehearsals that our troops had to endure in order to improve their alertness and hone their skills. And even before the main summit, the 250 related ASEAN activities held since late last year helped the team sharpen their competencies and enabled them to become ready for any eventuality or situation that may crop up along the way.

What made our handling of all the ASEAN-related activities successful was the whole-of-nation approach. The key was everyone was doing his or her part with the local government units manifesting their cooperation and assistance in providing all the necessary logistical requirements and augmenting the resources of the national government during the preliminary ASEAN meetings and the actual summit.

Also, noteworthy to mention is the establishment and operation of the Multi-Agency Coordination Center or the MACC which serves as the nerve center of the CSPOEPR where all member agencies actively engage to monitor, coordinate and handle all security and safety concerns on the ground.

Even the private sector, unmindful of the huge losses that they may incur, demonstrated their corporate social responsibility by stepping forward to give back to the country and show their support. The Outdoor Advertisers Association of the Philippines (OAAP) flashed our traffic advisories in their billboards. The NLEX, SCTEX, and SLEX managements also allowed the use of their expressways free of charge during the series of convoy dry runs and ran our advisories in their electronic billboards. The SMX Convention Center, including the host of businesses in the area, also cooperated with the security committee during the lockdown periods.

The general public, despite the temporary inconveniences, also evinced their patience and understanding in avoiding the lockdown areas and the major thoroughfares where the convoy of ASEAN leaders traversed. That is why our traffic measures went smoothly as the movement of the delegates from the airports to the hotels to the venue and to their other activities was without difficulties.

But all our preparations and coordination would have come to naught if not for our security and public safety forces who painstakingly went through all the rehearsals and practices over and over again out of their sheer commitment and dedication to duty.

In the same vein, our troops led by their ground commanders effectively handled the pockets of protests that sprang in Manila as they stood their ground. In fact, twenty-eight (28) of our men, in the course of their engagement with the rallyists and with their strict adherence to police operational procedures, incurred slight injuries as they tried to prevent the rallyists from getting close to the site of the summit. We provided them with immediate medical attention.

During the arrival of the delegates, our troops had to make several adjustments in their security plans because of slight and sudden deviations in flight plans and schedules. Despite all of those changes, they managed remarkably well as they safely escorted the leaders to their hotels.

Let me then take this opportunity to thank our troops for the hardwork that they have shown from the very start. You all deserve a pat on the back for your great contribution in making this summit a success. You made your country proud.

All in all, we saw the whole nation working as one, shedding off our own personal convenience and comfort, not just to show the world that we are a united people who are ready to overcome any challenge that comes our way and that ours is a beautiful country that is primed to host and cater to the world’s most important events.

We would also like to acknowledge the efforts of the members of the media who helped us disseminate timely and relevant information and advisories to the public regarding the ASEAN Summit.

We hope that the unity and solidarity that we have shown to the ASEAN community and the whole world do not end here. Let us keep on building up on each other. Let’s keep on working together. History has shown us that when we Filipinos are united in spirit and purpose, we can surmount just about any task and challenge brought before us.

On behalf of the whole of CSPOEPR, we thank everyone for the success of ASEAN 2017. We have now made a strong statement to our neighboring countries. We showed them that what kind of stuff we Filipinos are made of. We are a proud and passionate race. We ARE Filipinos ready to partner for change and engage the world.

Thank you very much!

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