THIS early, I would like to congratulate the ASEAN Task Force Security for making the entire nation proud with the way they have secured and are securing world leaders led by United States President Donald Trump during the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and other Related Meetings in Manila this week.
Sad to say, some of our countrymates are not doing us proud and creating trouble and other embarrassing acts which show the kind of discipline Filipinos have—worthy to mention are the usual group of protesters and their aging leaders who have been commanding them in their street protests for dozens of years now, hitting the U.S. and not Mainland China and its incursions in our territories, and trying in vain to eclipse the show from the ASEAN Summit results with their violent protest actions. And of course, ex-beauty queen-actress Maria Isabel Lopez.
Here these words from ASTF commander, my friend Police Director Napoleon ‘Nap’ Taas. “With the arrival of the President of The United States of America, our bases are fully loaded. We now have in our hands the security and well-being of all the most powerful leaders in the world.
We, members of the ASTF 2017 now have sole control of the world’s Center stage. We will NOT allow anyone to wrestle that away from us,” said Taas, a member of Philippine Military Academy Class 1984.
Taas said that the security plan, including the deployment of security forces, has been calibrated based on the risks and threats assessment made by the National Intel Fusion Center prior and during an ASEAN event as well as non-ASEAN related developments such as the Bohol and Marawi incidents.
The 2-star police general told me on Monday that the country cannot compromise the lives and safety of participants of the ASEAN events, hence a more proactive and “quick to adjust” security plan for ASEAN. “For the next 4 days, keep that in mind and be proud that not many are given the same privilege and opportunity. As your ASTF commander, I will be with you every step of the way. Let us continue to communicate, remain predictable, and report anything out of the ordinary. May God bless us all,” he said.
Special mention also goes to the men behind the ASEAN security preparations, my friends, DILG officer-in-charge, retired Gen. Litoy Cuy, PNP chief Gen. Ronald ‘Bato’ de la Rosa, and his Command Group and members of Directorial Staff, NCRPO chief, Director Odi Albayalde, PNP Director for Operations, Director Pikoy Cascolan and Chief Superintendent Noel Baraceros of the Center for Police Strategy Management.
These men have been having sleepless nights shuttling in and out of Camp Crame to the ASEAN venues and seeing to it that there will be endless critiquing of what they have done and what they have failed to do. May God protect us and the whole country this week. Keep us safe and proud Good Lord.
YOU DON’T ‘PENETRATE’ AN ASEAN LANE AND GET AWAY WITH IT LIGHTLY
I’m referring of course to Ma. Isabel Lopez, the ex-beauty queen who in the late 80s gained fame for her share of so-called ‘pene (penetration) movies’ which titillated the macho senses of Filipinos. A Google search showed her movies include ‘Silip, Dingding Lang Ang Pagitan, Mga Nakaw na Sandali and Good Girls Gone Wrong.’Google also said that Lopez once stole the scene at the Cannes Film Festival with her outfit.
Now she’s back in the limelight and appears all set to pay for it when she drove along a lane of EDSA—between Shaw and Ortigas— designated for the summit delegates only—she removed the orange cones separating the ASEAN lane from the public lanes, used her mobile phone to document the stunt and then posted the video on Facebook. Is that being ‘nationalistic?
Although she publicly apologized for her offense, I think that concerned authorities—the DoTR, MMDA, LTO , the PNP and the ASTF—are hell-bent on teaching her a good lesson by recommending the revocation of her driver’s license and slapping her with heavy fines for violating Republic Act 10913 or Anti-Distracted Driving Act, the law against reckless driving and disregarding traffic signs.
I fully agree with observations that Lopez’s actions were dangerous since she could have been mistaken as a threat by snipers and other security personnel of any ASEAN head of state or other VIPs using the same lane on that time of the day. What if some ‘trigger-happy’ security men fired at her tires or her windshield? What if she unintentionally hit a traffic enforcer or security personnel in the area or even an authorized vehicle?
I learned that her Facebook post garnered tens of thousands of mostly negative reactions, with many don’t believing her alibi that she needed to answer the call of nature after being stuck in traffic for three hours. That would not stick. For many, what she did was a ‘serious security breach’ and put not only herself but also the summit’s delegates at risk.
As Undersecretary Cuy had said: “As a public figure, Lopez must be mindful of the impact of her actions. We tirelessly remind the people that traffic rules are created to save lives and put order in the management of traffic flow, especially now that we are hosting the Asean Summit. We will not allow someone like her to simply put our plans to naught.”