A few days before the opening ceremony of the 30th Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games), the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) reassures foreign and local sports delegations, and the public that "security and safety measures are in place" as the government is 100% prepared and targets zero security incidents in the conduct of the biennial multi-sports competition in the country.
DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año says that the government has placed a paramount priority in ensuring that SEA Games delegations, both local and foreign, plus the sports fans who will flock to the 44 competition venues are accorded with vigilant security and safety measures.
"We want this to be the safest SEA Games in history, hence, we pulled all the strings as we target zero incidents. We are 100 percent prepared for this," Año says.
"It's not every day that the we get to host the SEA Games and we want the athletes to play their best without having to worry about their security as they represent their countries. We assure them that local law enforcement entities are here to ensure their safety," he adds.
Año says that the 30th SEA Games Security and Master Plan shall be implemented during the 12-day duration of the multi-sports event to secure around 17,000 athletes and team officials; 1,500 international and local media; 12,000 volunteers; and 2,800 technical officials that are expected to participate in the 30th SEA Games.
He says that the DILG was directed to lead and organize an inter-agency security task force, with an established command center at the Philippine National Police (PNP) National Head Quarters in Camp Crame, "to provide comprehensive security and safety coverage for the 30th SEA Games".
The said security task force (STF) is headed by Gen. Gregorio Pio P. Catapang, Jr. (Ret) and is composed of action officers, forces, and personnel of departments, bureaus, agencies, and instrumentalities of government, local government units (LGUs), non-government organizations and members of the private sector.
"We have gathered all entities that can help us in securing the 30th SEA Games and as early as February of this year, we have been conducting meetings, seminars and workshops to establish a seamless safety plan for the said sports event," he says.
The DILG Chief explains that the STF shall be tasked to ensure the safety and security of the athletes, team officials, international and local media, volunteers, technical staff, competition venues, billeting hotels, and other identified SEA Games areas; security and safety coverage of the overall SEA Games areas, airports, sea ports, routes, coastal areas, and places of interests; and emergency preparedness and response on emergencies and upon occurrence of man-made and natural disasters and similar crisis.
In a press conference today, DILG Spokesperson and Undersecretary Jonathan E. Malaya encourages public support in securing foreign and local athletes during and after the SEA Games.
"I am sure mamamasyal sila after their respective games. Let's keep them safe, let's keep an eye on them as we show them the famous Filipino hospitality," says Malaya.
Malaya urges everyone to enjoy this experience of being the proud and most hospitable hosts of this Games as we Filipinos are known all over the world.
He also encourages everyone to defer politics and promote Filipino sportsmanship during the conduct of the games. "No politics, no partisanship, except in the competition but always in a friendly and respectful manner in the Olympic spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play."
He adds that the DILG has also mobilized all its emergency and first response units in all the Games venues, particularly the Bureau of Fire Protection and the trained responders of our Police Regional and Provincial Offices in all the venues, as an assurance of the safety and welfare of our guests and spectators.
The DILG Secretary further explains that the 30th SEA Games Crisis Management Committee shall also be convened immediately during the occurrence of crisis or existence of emergency threatening condition.
"Every contingency has been carefully checked and double checked to ensure the success and safety of the 30th SEA Games. Hopefully, we do not need to activate the Crisis Management Committee and we conclude the games with only tallies of medals not of untoward incidents," he says.
Año says that STF shall be supported by the three main operating Joint Task Groups (JTGs) namely: JTG for Security, JTG for Peace and Order and JTG for Emergency Preparedness and Response.
Task Groups (TGs) are also be organized in various strategic sites in Metro Manila; Central Luzon to cover Clark, Subic, Tarlac, and Bulacan; and La Union for added security measures.
The PNP has deployed a total of 27, 440 personnel for the SEA Games composed of 18,105 for Metro Manila, 6,554 for Central Luzon, 1,865 for Southern Luzon and 916 for La Union.
TGs in Airports, Traffic Management, Internal Security Operations, Critical Infrastructure, Community Relations, Protective Service, Signal, and Tourist Protection, among others, were also established.