Security forces ready for active shooters despite bad weather during ASEAN Summit

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Despite Typhoon Salome unleashing heavy rains in the metropolis and nearby provinces, the ASEAN Security Task Force (ASTF) has shown that security forces are ready for active shooters that may pose a threat to around 20 world leaders and heads of states arriving this week for the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit.

Officer-in-Charge Catalino S. Cuy of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said Typhoon Salome did not deter ASTF from acting decisively and “immediately arresting the suspects” during a simulation exercise on response to an active shooting incident (RASI) organized by the Red Team.

“Even with Typhoon Salome in the Philippine area of responsibility, I am very pleased that our security personnel showed us what they are really made of when they were able to respond quickly to the active shooters during the exercise.  This only goes to show that they are very much ready just in case an active shooting incident occurs during the summit,” said Cuy, who is also the Chairman of the Committee on Security, Peace and Order, and Emergency Preparedness and Response (CSPOEPR).

Also present during the SIMEX were ASEAN National Organizing Council (NOC) Chairman, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea; ASEAN NOC Director General for Operations, Ambassador Marciano Paynor, Jr.; and ASTF Commander, P/Director Napoleon C. Taas.

The simulation exercise held Wednesday afternoon started with two unidentified armed men entering the hotel and actively shooting the bystanders at the parking area while heading inside the hotel entrance.

First responders composed of the elite group of security personnel from the Presidential Security Group, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, Philippine Coast Guard and other security personnel immediately sprang into action and exchanged gun fires with the two suspects.

During the CSPOEPR debriefing, Police Chief Superintendent William Macavinta, Leader of the Red Team, said that quick response is very essential in case of active shooting incident to limit the number of casualties and victims.

“We need to be able to respond to threats of active shooting within the first two-minutes and contain the incident right away so it will not spread and cause more trouble,” Macavinta said.

“Shooting incidents like those that happened in Las Vegas, San Francisco in California, and Resorts World are classic examples of active shooting incidents which could happen anywhere, even during the summit.  This is why we are doing all these exercises to test our skills and alertness so that we will be ready just in case a similar incident happens here,” he added.

According to Macavinta, the CSPOEPR is also ready with additional first responders like secondary entry team, containment, outer perimeter and medical evacuation for similar incidents and other security threats during the ASEAN Summit. —DILG-PACS