60th ASEAN Summit begins in Philippines

 26 Apr 2017 - 12:41

60th ASEAN Summit begins in Philippines
File Photo - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte

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ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines: The 30th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit began Wednesday in capital of Manila amid tight security.

The summit started with preparatory meetings at Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) that will continue till Friday. 

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte would chair the summit on Saturday. The leaders of 10 member nations would discuss issues including regional security, piracy, cross-border kidnappings and the South China Sea dispute.

The host country battles militants who have invaded a tourist island province in the archipelago’s central region last week, raising a nationwide security alarm.

As many as 41,000 security forces were deployed in the capital to secure 1,800 delegates from 10 member nations.

Philippine army’s Chief of Staff Gen. Eduardo Ano said there is no specific terror threat that could disrupt the summit. However, he added the military is not leaving anything to chance and that “everything is covered” security-wise.

The military said the security issues in the tourist island of Bohol, which was attacked by IS-linked Abu Sayyaf militants, have already been addressed.

Since 1991, Abu Sayyaf carried out bombings, kidnappings, assassinations and extortion in a self-determined fight for an independent province in the Philippines.

“We value the time that you wish to rest so please do not cancel your reservations in these tourist areas and go out enjoy yourself. Have the sabbatical you most urgently need and we will ensure that you will be able to do that unhampered and well secured,” Padilla said.

The Philippine Navy has deployed 20 ships to secure Manila Bay.