Tag Archive: security

The Philippine Air Force on Wednesday warned adventure-seekers not to push with plans of flying over areas where Pope Francis will be holding activities, saying various aircraft and guns are in place to stop them.

“We are employing different types of aircraft, from S-211 jets, helicopter gunships, regular helicopters, and even ground-based anti-aircraft guns for air cover,” Air Force spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Enrico Canaya said.

“Ang message namin, there maybe those who plan to overfly the areas. They should be informed that an air defense system will be in place, baka kasi mayroong mag-adventure diyan, mag-overfly,” he stressed.

The S-211 jets, currently the fastest in the PAF fleet with a maximum speed of 667 kilometers per hour, will be used to “intercept” aircraft that are monitored to be heading towards areas where Pope Francis will be holding activities, Canaya said.

They will be used in areas at least 10 nautical miles away from where the Pope is to prevent aircraft from approaching the 3-nautical mile “no-fly zone” designated by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, he said.

Helicopters will be used within the “inner layer.”

Canaya said the PAF and Navy will use a total of 26 air assets for different operations, including air cover.

“As much as possible, we don’t want to use force,” he said, adding that even drones are not allowed no-fly zones.

Amid the massive and seemingly threatening deployment, Canaya assured that Air Force pilots and gunners will “exercise prudence” in dealing with those who enter no-fly zones.

“We are exercising prudence in our judgment… We will see to it that there is no collateral damage,” he said. (John Roson)

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The Armed Forces and National Police will place all units in the country under their highest alert statuses for the upcoming visit of Pope Francis, officials said Wednesday.

All military units will be placed under “red alert” on Saturday, Armed Forces chief Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang told reporters in Camp Aguinaldo.

“Red alert means we should be 100 percent inside camps… We don’t want enemies of the state to take advantage of the situation,” the military chief said.

The police, on the other hand, will be placed under “full alert” starting Monday, National Police officer-in-charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina said in an separate interview in Camp Crame.

As much as 37,000 police and military personnel will be deployed to secure Pope Francis’ visit from January 15 to 19, Catapang said.

“This time we are already conducting rehearsals, these are in actual venues, the timing, and the position of snipers,” he said.

About 100 snipers will be deployed to buildings along Manila’s Roxas Boulevard, Catapang said.

No threats to the Pope’s visit have so far been monitored, and the large deployment is aimed at securing the pontiff’s 44 different activities, he said.

The challenge, according to Catapang, is preventing a “people surge.”

“It’s the temperament of the crowd at that particular moment, baka biglang magkaroon ng people surge,” he said.

A stampede like what happened to the anniversary celebration of the defunct television game show “Wowowee” in 2006 is also possible during the Pope’s visit, Catapang said.

More than 70 people were killed in the stampede, which occurred at a sports center in Pasig City on February 4, 2006. (John Roson)

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Police in storm-wrecked Davao Oriental have asked the provincial government to impose a curfew in three towns amid reports of looting of stores and warehouses.

Senior Supt. Rommil Mitra, Davao Oriental Provincial Police director, said the Department of Agriculture has complained that looters stole rice from a National Food Authority (NFA) warehouse in Cateel.

“Kaya nga nag-request kami ng curfew kay Governor (Corazon Malanyaon), mag-issue siya ng executive order para mas madali, marestore ‘yung order,” Mitra said in a phone interview Saturday.

Cateel, along with Boston and Baganga, were hit hard by typhoon “Pablo” on Tuesday and are still without electricity.

The ER Supermarket in Baganga was also reportedly looted, but local authorities have yet to release an investigation report on the incident, 2Lt. Zaida Vidad, spokeswoman of the Army’s 701st Brigade based in Mati City, said.

“Pagka madilim na, nandiyan na ‘yung problema, ‘yung mga looting… mas mabuti kung mas maaga meron nang curfew kasi totally blackout sa mga area na ‘yan,” Mitra said.

“Ni-recommend namin na kung pupuwede magkaroon ng curfew dito sa tatlong lugar para maiwasan ‘yung mga violation sa gabi, ‘yung mga criminal what-not.”

Mitra said he has asked the chief of police in Cateel to explain the incident at the NFA warehouse and directed the latter, as well as police in Boston and Baganga, to guard stores and warehouses.

The task comes as police and other security forces in Davao Oriental still have their hands full in distributing relief goods, clearing roads of debris, and searching for at least 27 people who remain missing.

Mitra said he asked for additional policemen to help get the jobs done.

Some 73 policemen from Davao del Norte, the Police Regional Office 11 in Davao City, the Police Regional Office 13 in neighboring Caraga region have already arrived and more are expected to come, Mitra said.

Meanwhile, the number of deaths caused by “Pablo” in Davao Oriental reached 227.

One-hundred and eighteen died in Baganga, 59 in Cateel, 27 in Boston, 17 in Caraga town, three in Mati City, two in Tarragona, and one in Manay, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported Friday night.

A total of 559 people, mostly in Baganga, were injured while 27 remain missing in Caraga, Baganga, and Cateel, according to the PDRRMC. (John Roson)

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Authorities detained 12 Chinese nationals who allegedly figured in a ruckus with companions of President Benigno Aquino III’s sister, Ballsy Aquino-Cruz, during a flight to Cebu on Saturday, police said.

The twelve were placed under the custody of the 7th Police Center for Aviation Security (PCAS-7) at the Mactan Cebu International Airport in Lapu-Lapu City, according to National Police spokesman Chief Supt. Agrimero Cruz.

Two of the Chinese nationals – Han Yan, 31, and Mailiyasi, 33, – allegedly became unruly during the “fun game” of Cebu Pacific Flight 5J-563 from Manila.

The two eventually figured in an “altercation” with companions of Aquino-Cruz and were arrested upon arrival by PCAS-7 members, Cruz said, citing field reports.

Pete Prado, who served as a DOTC secretary during the late President Corazon Aquino’s time and is now her daughter’s chief of staff, also instructed the PCAS-7 personnel to hold the Chinese nationals’ group and file charges against them, Cruz said. (John Roson)

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