APEC economies are developing a risk-based, anti-bus terrorism protocol to protect trade and enhance human security in the region.
Leading experts and uniformed personnel participated in an APEC workshop on resisting bus terrorism to formulate a new, risk-based preventive toolbox to deal with terror attacks against buses and speed up incident response time.
The APEC-wide toolbox is based on the experiences and measures shared by participating economies and how they individually mitigate different threats to their domestic bus systems.
Recent statistics indicate that between 1970 and 2012, close to 8,000 people were killed and approximately 30,000 were injured in attacks against public surface transportation worldwide.
Of these attacks, nearly 50 percent were against buses, bus stations and bus stops. They accounted for 55 percent of the fatalities and 41 percent of the injuries resulting from terrorist attacks during this period.
“Unfortunately, we are all too familiar with these types of attacks,” said Undersecretary of Operations, Rafael Antonio Santos, from the Philippines Department of Transportation and Communications.
“In our fight against acts of terrorism, our experiences allow us to share the procedures we undertake during a bus breach, including coping measures and interacting with response personnel on-the-ground,” he added.
Through robust discussions, participants gained a better understanding of both domestic and regional terrorist threats. In particular, they discussed the technical characteristics of improvised explosive devices (IED) and vehicle-borne IEDs to better enhance mass transport protection.
Other mitigation efforts discussed included providing for video surveillance on buses, implementing driver authentication systems and deploying station explosive-containment trash cans.
“With the latest information being shared, the workshop greatly assisted APEC economies to develop security measures that are risk-based,” explained Anne Witkowsky, Chair of APEC’s Counter-Terrorism Task Force (CTTF). “This is critically important to achieving APEC’s wider human security agenda.”
Speaking at the workshop, retired Commodore S. Roland Recomono, Administrator of the Philippine Office for Transportation Security emphasized the need to “translate to tangible terms” APEC Leaders’ commitment to enhance anti-terrorism cooperation and take into account different economies’ unique situations.
“APEC’s work on this is critical considering what happened a week ago in Burgas, Bulgaria, where a suicide bomber attacked a tourist bus and left seven people killed and scores wounded,” he said.
This workshop is being implemented through the APEC Counter-Terrorism Task Force. A risk-based, preventative roadmap to avert terror attacks against buses will be produced and circulated to APEC economies.
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