Security Measures in Place for IPU General Assembly

Article excerpt

Byline: JUDE C. GALFORD III

Senate President Franklin Drilon yesterday expressed optimism that the forthcoming 112th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) General Assembly slated on April 3 to 8 will be a meaningful and peaceful event.

"The fact that all security measures are in place is an assurance that the IPU and its delegates will be free from harm," said Drilon.

Drilon disclosed that at National Security Council meeting called by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo yesterday morning, the President gave the police specific instructions to leave "no stone unturned as far as security arrangements for the IPU are concerned."

According to him, the President appreciated the importance of the IPU conference in terms of "our ability to show to the world the security situation of the country and be able to project the Philippines."

"We are confident that with the security arrangements, the delegates are fully secured not only here in Manila but also in the various tourist spots where the delegates have gone to," he said.

The senator expressed confidence there would be no glitches in security because the threat has been "reduced to the minimum."

Drilon noted that the cache of explosives confiscated from suspected terrorists before the Holy Week break weakened groups out to sow terror.

There will be more than 10,000 police personnel to secure the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) where the general assembly will be held.

Drilon disclosed that a few days before the meet, some parliamentarians have already arrived and actually spent the Holy Week in the country and that the president had ordered the police provide maximum security to the visitors.

"They like the warm sun of the country," Drilon beamed.

Moreover, aside from a boost to tourism , the country is also set to benefit from the international exposure it would receive through foreign media covering the event.

Meanwhile, Drilon said discussions over the Myanmar issue at the IPU would be limited to leaders belonging to ASEAN countries and not a topic for the whole congress to deliberate.

"The Myanmar issue will be tackled during the pre-IPU conference during the meeting of Asean parliamentarians but this is just a follow-up of the Asean parliamentarians meeting in Singapore last Nov. 28," he said.

"I would expect the Philippine delegation, particularly Senator Nene Pimentel, would push forward resolutions which would express the sentiment of Asean parliamentarians on the Myanmar Issue," Drilon said.

The senator pointed out that Myanmar will be assuming the chairmanship of the ASEAN next year and that there are a lot of issues being raised particularly on the failure of the Myanmar government to have a timetable or a road map to democracy.

Part of the discussions, Drilon disclosed would touch on subjects ranging from the receiving of the representatives of the secretary general of the United Nations, the release of freedom fighter Aung San Suu Kyi and other matters. …