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ASEAN cancels ministers’ meeting in Albay due to NPA threat

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Ambassador Marciano Paynor, Jr. said the cancellation of the event was recommended by the ASEAN Committee on Security.

In a Department of Interior and Local Government advisory received by PNA, it said that the ASEAN meeting hosted by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) was transferred to Marriot Hotel in Manila.

In his letter to local officials, Paynor said the cancellation of the Ministerial meeting was primarily due to intelligence information gathered that the New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (NPA/CPP), plans to launch violent activities in the region as an act of retaliation to the military force.

According to Paynor, the ASEAN Security Committee has been advised that the situation in Legazpi was further complicated by news that 800 ready-to-deploy improvised explosive devices or IED have been distributed by the NPA elements in the neighboring province of Camarines Sur.

The security center further said the communist rebels’ plan threatens the ASEAN delegates during land travel from the Legazpi domestic terminal airport here to the Misibis Bay Resort in Bacacay town, the venue of the five-day ministerial meeting.

The distance from Legazpi Domestic Airport to Misibis Bay Resort in Bacacay town iwas about 37 kilometers.

Paynor said: “Due to the increased atrocities in the region it has been assessed that holding an ASEAN event in Misibis Bay Resort, in Bacacay Albay is too high-risk and unsafe.” (PNA)