A Metro Manila never seen before during APEC 2015

By Ellen T. Tordesillas

Posted at Nov 13 2015 01:39 AM

Next week, we will experience Metro Manila we have not seen before.

For the 23rd summit of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation or APEC which will be held in Manila on Nov. 18 and 19, stringent measures will be implemented to ensure the safety of leaders or their representatives of the 21 member-economies.

A number of roads leading to the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) will be closed from Nov. 16 to 19. Same thing with roads leading to the Mall of Asia Arena where the Leaders will attend an evening event.

Roads from the airport to the hotels when the Leaders arrive will be closed to motorists. More than 300 flights have been suspended to ensure the ease and safety of the arrival and departure of the leaders.

To present a pleasant sight for the important visitors, street dwellers have been banished from Metro Manila sidewalks. Where they are, only Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman and the local government social workers know.

Soliman said homeless families are being housed in apartments as part of government's conditional cash transfer program. She said it is not to conceal poverty from APEC delegates but it is part of their program to protect the poor families especially children because “... streets (as a dwelling place) are not safe, not dignified,” adding that her department has been doing it since 2013.

Owners and operators of buildings along Roxas Boulevard have also been asked to shut their windows during the event.

Ambassador Marciano Paynor, the director general of the APEC 2015 National Organizing Committee, said "Part of how we can secure leaders as they go or traverse Roxas Boulevard from their hotels coming into PICC is to have windows closed. This is a basic security practice worldwide. In New York, when the UN General Assembly commences in
end of September towards October, they request all skyscrapers along Manhattan routes going to the UN to have their windows closed. That is a basic practice."

Those who have announced plans to stage rallies against China’s Xi Jinping over the territorial conflict in the South China Sea and Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over the garbage issue can do so far from the path the Leaders will pass.

PNP chief Director General Ricardo Marquez said freedom parks will be established where the protesters can stage a rally.

The 21 APEC members are Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, China, and Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Chinese Taipei or Taiwan, Thailand, United States and Viet Nam.

APEC is an organization of economies, not countries (that’s why Hongkong is member separate from China. So is Taiwan.) APEC’s primary goal is to support sustainable economic growth and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region. Its 21 member-economies are home to around 2.8 billion people and represent approximately 57 per cent of world GDP and 47 per cent of world trade in 2012.

Among the Leaders who have confirmed attendance to the Manila summit are U.S. President Barack Obama, Chinese President Xi Jingpin, Japan’s Shinzo Abe and Canada’s Justin Trudeau.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indonesia’s Joko Widodo have sent word that they are unable to attend next week’s meeting. Russia will be represented by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

Taiwan will be represented by former Vice President Vincent C. Siew, not President Ma Ying-jeou.

Prior to the meeting of the Leaders, there are ongoing meetings of senior officials to be followed by the meeting of the foreign ministers.

There will be separate meetings of the chief executives of APEC economies. The APEC 2015 CEO summit to be held at the Makati Shangrila from Nov. 16 to 18 is expected to draw some 600 to 800 executives of companies in the Asia Pacific region.

The total number of delegates is about 8,000.

The APEC 2015 International Media Center at the World Trade Center has accredited more than 3,000 journalists to cover the annual event.

That explains why all star-rated hotels in Metro Manila are fully booked.

Guidelines have also been issued to members on media:

Ambush interviews are strictly prohibited within the PICC Complex.

All accredited media personnel must observe silence and proper decorum. Shouting, rowdy behavior, and uttering offensive words or expressions to any representative, member, or leader of a delegation will not be tolerated.

Any accredited media personnel who violate protocol shall be sanctioned and stripped of his/ her media accreditation, and will subsequently be banned from covering all remaining AELM events.

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Blog: www.ellentordesillas.com
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Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.