APEC meet: Philippines steps up security in wake of attacks in France

(From dpa)

Philippine security forces were placed on full alert Saturday ahead of an international economic summit in Manila next week in the wake of deadly attacks in France.

Philippine Marines mount anti-aircraft guns near the venue of next week's APEC Summit of leaders in Manila

Philippine Marines mount anti-aircraft guns near the venue of next week’s APEC Summit of leaders in Manila

President Benigno Aquino also convened a meeting of security officials to discuss possible additional measures to be implemented in securing the annual Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders’ summit.

Aquino earlier said in a statement that security forces were “taking all necessary precautions” to ensure the safety of the public and APEC leaders arriving in Manila from November 17.

“There is no credible threat registered at this time but let us all be cooperative and vigilant,” he said.

Thousands of police officers and soldiers held a dry run of security measures at the main venue to the meetings next week, while a US Marine helicopter hovered above the convention centre and nearby hotels.

“Target-hardening measures on vital installations, particularly seaports, airports and our rail systems have been further elevated to maximize deterrence against unforeseen events,” said police spokesman Chief Superintendent Wilben Mayor.

Mayor urged the public to remain calm after “scare messages” reportedly circulated through social media and text messages.

“These only serve to add to public anxiety that may further lead to hysteria and panic,” he added. “Please disregard such messages and report immediately to authorities.”

Philippine National Police Director General Ricardo Marquez placed all PNP units nationwide on “full alert” to ensure the readiness of police forces to respond to any contingencies.

Aquino said the Philippines stands in solidarity with Paris and condemns the series of attacks.

“In our time of need, France and her people stood shoulder to shoulder with the Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan,” he said in a statement. “We stand with France now, in the firm belief that the light must never dim in Paris.”

The Department of Foreign Affairs said it was monitoring the situation in Paris and has so far not received reports of Filipinos killed or injured in the attacks.

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