DAVAO CITY – A local group believes the Philippine government is going overboard in preparing to host for the Asia Pacific Economic Conference this month.
“From hundreds of cancelled flights, lost incomes due to cancelled workdays, lost school days, heavy traffic due to road closures and rerouting, to displaced urban poor communities and the suppression of the right to protest, government measures for the upcoming APEC summit are placing too much of a burden on the public,” said Teddy Casiño, spokesperson of the People’s Campaign Against APEC and Imperialist Globalization (#PHFightAPEC).
Casiño said the government “is doing everything to make the foreign delegates happy, but at the expense of its own citizens.”
“This is taking Filipino hospitality to the extreme,” he said.
The group, composed of various social movements, people’s organizations and cause-oriented groups, will be holding a series of international conferences, protest actions and other events starting this week to serve as a counterpoint to the annual APEC Summit in Manila.
“The latest announcement by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) that they will impose a ‘no permit, no rally’ policy is actually a ban on all forms of mass actions that are critical of APEC. It is a blatant assault on the people’s right to free speech and peaceful assembly,” said Casiño.
“Pres. Aquino would like to show the APEC delegates a Manila free of traffic, free of beggars and street vendors, free of shanties and illegal structures, free of indigenous peoples and citizens exercising their democratic rights. This is the kind of illusion that APEC foists when it says globalization leads to a better world,” he added.
The group called on the government to allow the various counter-APEC activities to continue unhampered.
“At this time, it is important not only to see and hear the rich beneficiaries of APEC’s policies but the poor who have fallen victim to its brutal free trade policies. No amount of prohibition or repressive measure will stop the truth from coming out,” they said.(davaotoday.com)