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Stretching the hospitality tag

MANILA (Agencies): While Filipinos maybe world-renowned for their hospitality, Father Rex Reyes, from the National Council of Churches of The Philippines, believes that turning their lives upside down so that a group of world leaders can have more fun in the country while making economic policies that exclude the bulk of the population is stretching matters a bit too far.

He told CBCP News, “For the government, this means the Lumad (indigenous people) camping out at Liwasang Bonifacio had to be dispersed, because they are unsightly, the street children and street dwellers had to be sent somewhere else for a while, just to keep them out of sight.”

Father Reyes added that the two holidays declared in Manila to reduce traffic meant loss of income for daily wage earners, just so that the delegates to the November 18 to 19 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC) could build their economies that do not benefit these people.

“As the Philippine government has tried to make the whole of Metro Manila pleasant and hassle-free for the world leaders attending the APEC meeting, thousands of ordinary daily commuters on their way to work faced the disaster of traffic jams and long walks,” he said.

“Yet, why should Philippine hospitality be extended to a group of leaders forming a council to further the misery of the people of this republic?” he is asking.

“We have seen the privatisation of public utilities and services, a move away from the rights of the people as the criteria for providing services and towards the rights of companies to make profits as the main criteria,” he continued.

“We have seen our country opened to the new technocratic initiatives in public-private partnership, where government has divested itself of public assets in favour of private companies, which develop them, not in the public interest, but for profit,” Father Reyes pointed out.

He questioned why it was so important to impress the international community at the expense of the well-being of the struggling people of the city.


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