Philippines to bar entry of foreign activists in Asean Summit
‘Trouble-makers to be thrown into Mactan Straits’
The Inquirer Network reported today that:
THE government will stop the entry of foreign "trouble-makers'' who will attempt to disrupt the peaceful holding of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit in Cebu from December 11 to 14, Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez warned on Saturday.
In a telephone interview with the Inquirer, Gonzalez cited "intelligence reports'' indicating that local and international groups would try to mar the summit with massive protest actions.
"There are also intelligence reports about that, but the intelligence community believes they can handle it. I also ordered that all the trouble-makers should not be allowed to enter the country,'' Gonzalez said.
The justice secretary said the Philippines would emulate Singapore in ensuring the security of an international conference of foreign leaders in its territory. "Singapore banned all the trouble makers from entering Singapore during the World Bank meeting in Singapore,'' he said.
"We will not allow a situation where the international delegates, the chiefs of state will be cordoned off inside Shangri-La (Hotel on Mactan Island)," said Gonzalez. He said this happened recently in Hong Kong, where foreign delegates were "prevented from leaving the building" due to protest actions.
"We will not allow that here. We will throw them into the Mactan Straits and let the sharks eat them there,'' he said.
Gonzalez said he would not mind criticisms and protests from international human rights groups because the country had grown used to being the "whipping boy" on the issue of human rights abuses.
Despite the possibility of disruptive protests, Gonzalez said the country’s intelligence community had expressed confidence that the 15,000 soldiers and policemen deployed in Cebu City are enough to foil any trouble.
"There will be an iron curtain imposed there,'' he said.
He also admitted that fear of threat to the lives of the delegates or their staff was one of the reasons he ordered the tightening of the security check at the country's airports.
Last Friday, Gonzalez directed immigration and airport officials to strictly monitor all Pakistani, Afghan, and Indian nationals entering the country, amid intelligence reports that operatives of Arab terrorist leader Osama Bin Laden entered the country recently.
In a memorandum order, Gonzalez said he received confidential information regarding the use of airlines for trafficking of Indian nationals to Manila, using, among others, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport as the port of entry.
"It was discovered that in many cases, the arrival of Indians with fake Philippine visas and/or re-entry permits or Special Return Certificates are not officially admitted by corrupt immigration officers and the same are not encoded in the BI Travel Info Database,'' Gonzalez said.
According to Gonzalez, the surveillance would also cover other foreign visitors carrying Indian passports who enter the Philippines.
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