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10 December 2015

INTERPOL team assists Philippines in securing APEC summit under EU-ASEAN programme

MANILA, Philippines – Under the umbrella of the EU-ASEAN Migration and Border Management programme, INTERPOL deployed a team during the recent Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit 2015 in Manila to help Philippine law enforcement authorities make the event as safe as possible.

The main purpose in deploying the Major Events Support Team (IMEST) was to train and assist Philippine Law Enforcement Agencies in the preparation, coordination and implementation of security arrangements during the APEC Summit, in particular to reinforce the screening of passengers arriving in the Philippines during the event.

With technology provided to immigration officers at seven airports in the country to access INTERPOL’s global databases, some 17.5 million database searches were conducted during the APEC summit. Multiple hits against INTERPOL’s Stolen and Lost Travel documents database also led to the arrest and return to the Netherlands of a wanted individual.
 
“The Filipino Government is grateful to INTERPOL for its strong support in helping make the APEC Summit a secure event. Close cooperation between Filipino law enforcement agencies and INTERPOL’s IMEST team contributed towards maximizing security conditions at the international event,” said Felizardo Serapio, Head of INTERPOL’s National central Bureau in Manila.

“Because border points are critical locations for preserving national security, we also connected our seven international airports to INTERPOL’s secure global police network so that passengers could systematically be screened against INTERPOL criminal databases to determine if they were a potential threat,” he added.

The EU-ASEAN Migration and Border Management Programme II, funded by the EU and implemented by INTERPOL, aims to improve connectivity through strengthening law enforcement networks and cooperation at main regional transit hubs.

Francisco Fontan, the EU Ambassador to ASEAN, stated: “Due to the transnational nature of current threats to global security, the way forward in tackling these issues must encompass a close cooperative approach among countries. For this reason, the European Union supports cooperation and information sharing among ASEAN Member States, which is crucial for effectively addressing law enforcement challenges.”
 
With INTERPOL’s Liaison Office for Asia and South Pacific (LOBANG) and its Command and Coordination Centre in Singapore assisting the operation, Michael O’Connell, Director of INTERPOL’s Operational Support and Analysis unit, said:
 
“Events as important as the APEC summit mobilize all security resources, it is therefore essential that authorities have access to all of INTERPOL’s global policing capabilities to ensure the highest level of security.”
 
“Since its official launch in Jakarta in October 2015, the EU-ASEAN Border Management and Migration Programme has delivered a number of important workshops to build and strengthen borders in the region. This EU-ASEAN programme is a strong example of turning knowledge into practice,” added Mr O’Connell.
 
The three-year programme aims to support the ASEAN region in its integration process through the implementation of its Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity.
 
In particular the programme aims to improve people-to-people connectivity by strengthening law enforcement networks and cooperation at main regional transit hubs, and by working on easing visa requirements for ASEAN and non-ASEAN nationals within the ASEAN region.
 
The ten ASEAN countries are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Michael Pulch, EU Ambassador to Singapore, INTERPOL EU-ASEAN Migration & Border Management Programme