Monday, November 14, 2005

How Secure Are the Southeast Asian Games?

In case you are wondering why the City of Manila is getting a fresh coat of painted Imeldification, it may have something to do with the upcoming Southeast Asian Games (2005 SEAG) which will be held in the Philippines November 27-December 5, 2005. According to the Wiki,
"The 2005 SEA Games will feature 41 sports in more than 395 events. Metro Manila will serve as the main hub of the Games, though several events will also take place in Bacolod City, Cebu City, Los Baños and Canlubang, Laguna, Tagaytay City, Angeles City, Pampanga, Antipolo City and Subic Bay Freeport."
Nearby is the official SEAG logo. (Ugly ain't it?) In Cebu, the warm up ceremonies got underway last Saturday, where the SEAG torch relay was a big hit, as "Mandaue City councilor Carlo Fortuna and City sports chairwoman Cheryl Ouano formally received the official torch from Danao city councilor Boying Rodriguez."

In Manila, Yehey!Sports gushes and gives the details of what to expect on Sunday, November 27, 2005 at the Luneta:
Everything is now in place—from security to production numbers—for the grand and elaborate opening ceremonies of the 23rd Southeast Asian Games at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila.

Officials behind the expected 3-hour show went to the Luneta on Thursday to inspect the park and discuss the security details to be employed on Day 1 of the region’s biggest sports spectacle.

All preparations are now in place. Only minor details are to be polished, particularly the security arrangement in the area. But overall, we’re very optimistic about it. We assure the Filipinos and the people of the world that they are going to love the show, that’s a promise,” said Virgilio Nadal, executive producer of the opening and closing committees of the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (Philsoc). President Arroyo will lead the nation in welcoming more than 7,000 athletes, officials, members of the diplomatic corps and foreign guests in the ceremony that will be broadcast live within the SEA region and around the world.

The local broadcast pool is composed of government networks IBC-13, NBN-4 and RPN-9 and privately owned ABC-5.

Mabuhay Satellite will transmit the broadcast feed to all international broadcasters and will use the Philippines’ first and only satellite, Agila2.

Overall director and producer Maria Montelibano was not around for the visit to the Quirino Grandstand owing to an earlier commitment, but her assistant, noted stage director Robert Tongco, said a dry run of the various opening activities will be held next week to finalize all the details, including the security measures.

“This is an open field, so the organizers are expecting around 300,000 people to witness the event. It’s a security nightmare, so proper coordination is needed among security committee, protocol and secretariat,” said Tongco.

During a coordination meeting at the Luneta VIP lounge, Manila Police District chief Police General Pedro Bulaong assured that security had been planned way ahead of the Games.

He said 5,000 uniformed men are to be assigned to the venue.

A strict by-invitation-only plan will be implemented for guests and VIPs, as Tongco said the stage is intended only for the President and key personalities of the biennial meet.
With President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo having a splendid lil War with Mass Media right now, I can't help but wonder if indeed, "all preparations are now in place." Knowing this government and its current priorities, no one can blame me for imagining the worst case scenarios and expressing serious doubts about official pronouncements on security preparedness.. Thousands of athletes officials, and tourists from many countries in the region, along with 300,000 Filipinos are expected for the Opening alone. What about all the other venues, the transportation routes to and from them, and nightspots and districts like Malate, the Makati Commercial Center and the sports arenas at the various other cities? 395 events!

They better find Dulmatin before November 27. Dulmatin is probably in the top ten most wanted men in the world, with up to $10 million offered for his capture dead or alive. The BBC calls him "the genius of the Jemaah Islamiyah". He's supposed to be in Mindanao, possibly hiding there with Jemaah Islamiyah's top terrorists and ASG's one-armed bandit, Radulan Sahiron, whom you may recall keeps popping up with Dawud and Ahmad Santos in the Julius Babao-Jonathan Tiongco Affair. ABSCBN News reports the results of its internal investigation into that affair here.


But today is also the third (wrong: fourth day update here) day of fierce fighting between elements of the Philippine military (assisted hopefully by allies from the US and Australia) against a large group of some 300 Abu Sayyaf bandit-terrorists.

I guess I am forced to ask: all of WHOSE preparations are in place for the SEA Games?


Rizalist said...

How does this website look on a Macintosh? Can any of you good visitors tell me? (I mean c'mon, you guys come here, make a mess and not say anything.)

AmericanPainter said...


I'm curious about the recent fuss with regard to the Julius Babao-Jonathan Tiongco Affair.

Perhaps the guy shouldn't be out of jail but that was apparently decided by the court that established the bail amount. So is it illegal for someone, ANYONE, to post his bail?

What’s the deal here?

Rizalist said...

American Painter,

It's really to do with the Anti-Terrorism Bill that has never been passed, for reasons I shall soon post an article on. But the fact is, whoever bailed out Dawud Santos of the Rajah Sulayman Movement last March, did so within the bounds of current law. (As a stop gap he has now been charged with "rebellion" a nonbailable offense but it is actually unclear WHERE he is! Like Virgilio Garcillano he is DESAPARECIDO.) He could not have been bailed out in March if the proposed antiterror law were in place. That is in fact the substantive issue here. But can the legislation be passed in Congress when the Palace is having a splendid lil war with Media, which is, unfortunately is a stronghold of the Left.
The President has never made the case for war with the Filipino people, partly because of her own inconstancy, partly because she is pinned down by the Left (her old friends). Dawud btw, is the younger brother of the founder of RSM, AHMAD Santos, who was arrested in Zamboanga 2 weeks ago but is raving under custody how his group will continue with their plans, despite his arrest probably under Dulmatin's tutelage to create a Bali style bomb incident in one of the popular tourist spots here, like the red-hot Malate district in Manila, or as I am chewing my nails over now, the upcoming SEAGAMES. I think BOTH Jonathan Tiongco and Julius Babao bailed out Dawud last March (for their own reasons.) Some think the reason the Palace and the President's new chief of staff designate, Environment Sec. Mike Defensor are involved in the Julius Babao affair is because Jonathan Tiongco was his asset in the Gloriagate coverup, an asset he acquired probably by blackmailing Tiongco, who has string of homicide and estafa cases. PCIJ which published his criminal record got TRO'd for doing so--a legal first for a blog. But even if we pass an antiterror bill, these things will go on given the "free enterprise" system of justice that we have here. More than the letter of the legislation itself, we need the spirit of a nation united in the grim endeavor of "war" -- we must convince the people that it IS in our interest and not just America's. You may be surprised to find that this is the case and people in public and intellectual life here consider the war on terror an American concern. That has been the Left's singular achievement since September 11. Please take everything I say with a grain of salt as I have no special access or information. Just a Filipino who is an American and vice versa.

AmericanPainter said...


Thanks for the enlightenment.

It is surprising that people in public and intellectual life here consider the war on terror an American concern, especially in view of all the terrorist acts committed here in the Philippines

I recall however, that on the day that the Philippine Star’s front page headline screamed about 50+ people being killed in the London bombing, there was a story on page four about a Ferry being bombed with the loss of 100+ Filipino lives. ON PAGE FOUR! Go figure............

Rizalist said...

AP: Oh my God! Please, please don't get me going on Super Ferry 14. That happened just two weeks before Madrid's 3/11, in late February 2004. 116 innocent men, women and childred died, and hundreds more missing never really accounted for.

But even SunStar media claimed the Palace squelched the CLAIMS of ABU SAYYAF that they had bombed that boat and massacred those poor innocent people. Because you know what was going on that very month of February, 2004? The 2004 election campaign had just begun. It was not until October that the President, safely esconced in Malacanang Palace triumphantly announced that they had solved the Super Ferry Bombing: that yup, the Abu Sayyaf did it.

Sir! please have mercy on me and do not write to me again about giving GMA the benefit of the doubt. You remind me of the lives that have been lost to her ambition and her treacherous and selfish cowardice, the deadly consequences of which will yet be visited on us by the Big Lies that so many good people, like you, believe.

Rizalist said...

2004 FEBRUARY 27 is a date that will live in infamy. It was our September 11, being the worst terrorist incident here.

But candidate Arroyo successfully turned it into just another sea mishap that we are famous for, having no faith whatsoever in the Filipino people's willingness to rally behind their leader, any leader that will defend them with honor and dedication and the selflessness that their ancestors always displayed.

AmericanPainter said...

Gosh Dean, don't be hysterical. You sound like you're near to blaming HER for bombing the Ferry!

What else can she be blamed for? Did she also burn your toast for breakfast?? LOL

Don't be misled, I'm just not believing ANYONE'S big lie! Both sides are lying, it's just a case of who lied last and who'll lie next?
Wanna bet that whoever replaces her won't be any better!

AmericanPainter said...

I love the sea but one things for certain, I'm not about to get on any boats here!

AmericanPainter said...


In 1999, I had just left Metrobank and was targeted by four robbers on two motorcycles, one pulled in front of my car while one pulled along the passenger side. While the man got off the motorcycle with a .45 automatic pistol which he rudely pointed to my head, the other did the same to my wife. I observed that his size, bearing and demeanor was the same as a Filipino policeman. They quickly relieved me of P75,000. and went on their merry way. The following week four men were apprehended nearby using the same modus operandi and guess what? One of them was a cop! Who can I blame for that? Erap was President!
I learned a valuable lesson from that experience. A car is dangerous in the traffic here so I bought a motorcycle and that has become my main mode of travel here except for long trips. I rode motorcycles for years in the U.S. but it’s a whole different experience here. I learned to ride in and out of traffic by observing and following Filipino motorcyclist. Now if they get me, they’ll have to ride hard and fast in traffic, because I sure do!

Rizalist said...

Haha! Ride'm Cowboy! Actually it's been along time since I've been on the streets of Manila on two wheels myself (mountain bikes). For a while I was commuting to Makati during the time they were building the MRT and EDSA wasn't worth sitting in a car for hours. Had to wear double barreled painter's gas mask though. Say, regarding that SuperFerry incident, part of the reason I get emotional about it is that because it was treated as just another accident, there wasn't as much attention paid to the rescue effort as there might have been. It was too quickly over. Aside from 116 confirmed dead, hundreds went missing that the Palace claimed "probably" made it to shore somehow and just didn't report in. I seriously doubt that. So yeah, I tend to hold her responsible in that sense. Imagine too, how such an incident would've been handled Stateside. Should it really have taken six months and one election for the govt to say it was terrorist incident. Boy that question always pops up in the States and brings down whole careers: What did you know and when did you know it?

AmericanPainter said...

Yeah Dean, I do understand how you feel. It was a horrible and tragic thing to happen but I believe that it's important to keep in mind that it was conceived and carried out by terrorist whose sole aim is to keep the whole world living in a state of terror. Unfortunately, no one including the U.S. has really figured out how to effectively combat it. If we allow the circus of politics to distract us, the terrorist gain ground. If we permit people to go about their daily lives ignoring what is going on in our on back yard, the terrorist gain ground.

Terrorist delight when we blame the President instead of them for their own acts. Keep in mind that regardless of when she pointed out that the Abu Sayaff was responsible, they knew it at once and delighted in the killing of innocents, I suggest we keep our focus on that.

Of course there can be no comparison as to how it would have been handled in the States. But there is little to compare between here and there. Terror comes in many forms here. People live behind steel gates with guard dogs as a way of life here. No one is ever really safe and yet it is so common that people accept it as the norm. How sad.

Rizalist said...

Roger that, AP!