INDEED, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation will not only further enrich Big Business and the ruling classes, it can also worsen even the everyday struggles of the ordinary people just like the horrendous traffic in Metro Manila’s major thoroughfares last Monday caused by the security overkill and abrupt vehicle rerouting imposed by the government in hosting the ongoing Apec summit.
Thousands of commuters were stranded for long hours in the roads, stressing them out, leaving them hungry, thirsty and weary, and vainly resisting the “call” of nature; obliging them to march for several kilometers in search of transport or series of transports that would take them to their work, school, appointments, and finally to go home. Precious time was lost and wasted; the meager daily transport and food budget was stretched to the limit; the measly wages and benefits were still deducted or vanished altogether when the poor workers failed to reach their workplaces on time. The usual few hours of one-way travel became a combination of almost a half-day walk and multiple rides. A woman was also forced to deliver her baby on the sidewalk because there were no vehicles plying the main streets, even an ambulance; there was a police mobile car but its occupants refused to drive her to the hospital – all because of overzealous “security” blanket.
This is clearly the height of insensitivity, of utter callousness, of total disregard for the welfare of the people, a twisted hospitality to foreign visitors, a security paranoia, an extreme of the extremes – just to please and appease a few!
What the Aquino administration did – along with the police, the military, and other government agencies, including the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), which systematically rounded up and hid from Apec delegates’ view the Manila’s beggars and street people – are in fact reminiscent of Marcosian martial law’s “peace and order” as well as the Imeldific obsession for “the good, the true and the beautiful.”
Sacrificing and ignoring the welfare of the ordinary Filipino people just to gratify and entertain the Apec bigwigs and corporate honchos is no different from the heartlessness of the terrorists who have no qualms about inflicting maximum and collateral damage even among the innocent, harmless and helpless civilians.
Which reminds us again that this economic “cooperation” group does not deserve the support of each and every Filipino as it does not deserve the support of each and every citizen of the countries that it purportedly represents. And not only because it has created monstrous traffics and inconveniences; more so because Apec is decisively anti-poor, anti-worker and anti-people.