Some 400 soldiers and 27,400 police officers will provide security to more than 10,000 athletes competing this year at the 30th Southeast Asian Games when it kicks off on Nov. 30.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, who led the send-off ceremony in Camp Aguinaldo for 127 soldier-athletes and coaches, said the soldiers would augment the police security at the three venues for the 12-day event.
Lorenzana said it while it was unlikely that a terrorist attack would target the games, the deployment of military units as part of precautionary measures to secure the regional sports event.
“Although we do not see the likelihood of a terrorist attack, it’s better that we are ready,” he said in a mix of Filipino and English.
The Defense chief’s remarks come amid fears of possible terror attacks by followers of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was killed by US forces in Syria last month.
The DND chief said security preparations of both military and police for the SEA Games have been ongoing for quite some time.
PNP spokesman Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said a total of 27,440 police officers will be deployed in the venues in Metro Manila, Laguna, Bulacan, Tagaytay, Subic and New Clark City sports complex in Capas, Tarlac for the sporting event.
Some 18,105 policemen will be deployed in Metro Manila, 6,554 in Central Luzon, 1,865 in Southern Luzon and 916 in La Union.
Aside from police officers, 20,000 personnel from different agencies will also be deployed, PNP officer-in-charge, Lt. Gen. Archie Francisco Gamboa said.
“We are putting our best foot forward for the regional sporting event among our ASEAN neighbors. We have started preparations since last year, [and] we continue to rehearse and fine-tune all our systems and procedures,” Gamboa told reporters in a press briefing in Camp Crame.
Over 10,000 athletes from Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, Timor Leste, Singapore and Vietnam will participate in 543 sports events.
The 30th SEA Games will open on Nov. 30 at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan and will be held in different venues in Metro Manila, Clark, Pampanga, and Subic, Zambales. It will conclude at New Clark City on Dec. 11.
The country won its first-ever SEA Games overall championship in 2005, the last time it hosted the biennial meet.
The Philippines also hosted the 1981 and 1991 editions of the SEA Games. With PNA