MANILA, Philippines—For a few hours on Thursday morning, Cubao became the venue of a “practical exam” in responding to bomb explosions.
Complete with a “panicking” crowd, bloodied victims and smoke, the Quezon City Police District held another field training exercise to gauge the preparedness of its men to respond to various emergencies.
Thursday’s “incident” was a bomb explosion in the middle of Araneta Coliseum during a night-time concert.
“Ideally, our policemen should be able to respond in 15 minutes. I am satisfied with the results,” QCPD director Senior Supt. Richard Albano told reporters after the exercise.
The 45-minute simulation even had severely wounded “victims” being carried out of the venue, with a police cordon set up to keep bystanders out.
Senior Supt. Sotero Ramos, intelligence chief of the National Capital Region Police Office, gave the QCPD a grade of 99.2.
“Maybe an area to improve would be keeping out media from the crime scene. Do not be intimidated by them, we can ask them to stay behind the cordon,” he said.
At “9 p.m.,” a “deafening explosion” marred the make-believe concert, sending a panicking crowd consisting of police civilian employees running out of the coliseum.
First to arrive at the scene was the Cubao police who cordoned off the area, followed by the explosives and ordnance division, firefighters, crime scene investigators, first aid responders and crowd control units.
Albano personally supervised the exercise, barking out orders to his men at the scene.
Within 45 minutes, police were able to take into custody two women, one holding a detonator.
“The scenario was that the two women were fighting over a man. One of them had a detonator while the other tried to grab it,” said a “case investigator.”
Albano reminded security guards to be extra vigilant in inspecting the belongings of patrons.
“In real life, this explosion would not have happened if the guards had inspected the belongings carefully at the entrance,” he noted.
The QCPD official added that civilians should be also on the lookout for suspicious activity and report it to the police hotline 117.
Meanwhile, the Araneta Coliseum’s chief security officer, Ernesto San Juan, welcomed the exercise as a good opportunity to train with the QCPD.
“We have instructed our guards to be stricter in their inspection,” San Juan said, adding that the have close coordination with QCPD officials.