NEWSFLASH

MAXIMUM SECURITY ASSURED FOR AUSSIE, CANADIAN EMBASSIES

MANILA, January 4, 2003 (STAR)  By Non Alquitran  - Metro Manila police chief Deputy Director Reynaldo Velasco has assured the diplomatic missions of Australia and Canada that their embassies in Makati City are under maximum security.

Velasco also assured other foreign missions and the diplomatic corps that their residences in Metro Manila are under full security.

"The security of foreign missions and diplomatic residence is an obligation of the host country," Velasco stressed.

The Metro Manila police chief also pointed that the reopening of the Australian and Canadian embassies highlighted the renewed confidence of the two countries on the capability of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to maintain peace and order in the country.

Although the closure of the two embassies was on the basis of an unconfirmed intelligence report, Velasco said the incident further boosted the efforts of the authorities to implement stricter security measures on all embassies.

Velasco created the Special Task Force Diplomatic Security immediately following the closure of the two embassies last month.

He said Chief Superintendent Jose Gutierrez, Southern Police District (SPD) director, has been tapped to head the task force.

Aside from police personnel, the task force has been beefed up by Marines, police special action forces and Filipino cops who took part in United Nation peace-keeping missions to East Timor and Kosovo.

Velasco said the security arrangement also involves the participation of the four other Metro Manila police district directors in providing covert security coverage in their areas of jurisdiction.

Uniformed policemen, beefed up by Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams, are also under orders to patrol areas near the embassies, Velasco said.


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