In the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks, one of Manila's most sensitive business districts is discreetly drawing up counter-terror and disaster measures that include surveillance cameras, checkpoints, metal detectors, evacuation plans, hiring ex-soldiers and training hotel staff. 'Security is our No1 priority,' said Victor Buencamino, general manager of Ortigas Centre Association. He said the association was holding weekly meetings to hammer out security measures. He said that although the association had co-ordinated with police and local government before the attacks in Mumbai, 'what we're trying to map out now is a general evacuation plan - if something happens in one sector of the centre, what do we do?' The 100-hectare Ortigas district is a premier business process outsourcing hub with many luxury hotels. Among the high-profile occupants of the area are the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank, the Philippine Stock Exchange, Manila Electric Company, San Miguel Corporation and Jollibee Foods Corporation. With at least six large malls, Ortigas is also a major shopping area prone to congestion. To add to security planners' concerns, Christmas is the country's most important holiday season and for all of December hotels and malls will be jam-packed with people. Mr Buencamino said that 'especially for this coming New Year, we have been co-ordinating schedules, workshops and training'. Refusing to give details - 'we can't exactly tell the world what we're going to do' - he said: 'We are updating our inventory, we have CCTV cameras on the streets.' Emmanuel Chavez, security manager of Linden Suites, said the association had given him the job of preparing a master plan to deal with terrorism and disasters. A retired colonel who used to command a military counterterrorism unit, Mr Chavez said many hotels had hired former soldiers as security officers. Noting how, after the Marriott Hotel bombing in Islamabad in September, Manila hotels made their security staff undergo bomb-threat training, Mr Chavez said more hotels should get further training from anti-terror experts. He also recommended that the district include checkpoints and metal detectors, and that hotels put protective film over their glass panels to minimise any bomb and bullet damage. Mr Chavez said Mumbai revealed terrorists who were 'determined to die' while killing as many innocent people as they could. 'True terrorists just barge in to kill. They will not negotiate and surrender.' He said one way of dealing with this was to have plans for an immediate security response along with evacuation and assistance for guests. A hotel security officer, who declined to be named, believed a repeat of the Mumbai attacks in Manila was unlikely, but added: 'Of course we can't rule out that there are extremists who might try to imitate it.' Noting that talks between the government and the Muslim separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front had broken down, he recalled that eight years ago its operatives bombed a Manila commuter train, killing 22 people and injuring 100. While authorities say they have not received information about any specific terror threat, this year they have arrested several people who were carrying explosive devices. Manila's hotels are no strangers to armed assaults. In November last year, rebel soldiers took over the Peninsula Hotel in Makati City, surrendering only after an armoured personnel carrier crashed through the lobby entrance. In 2003, rebel soldiers holed up in the Oakwood Hotel, giving up only after government forces threatened to bomb them. The Ortigas centre served as a rallying point for the uprising that overthrew president Joseph Estrada in 2001; months after that, it was also the site of a pro-Estrada demonstration that turned into a violent march on the presidential palace.