Next week, the Philippines will be at a four-day standstill. Filipinos will have no flights, no classes, no work and no pay for the duration of the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting.
Now, even before the summit, Filipinos are already feeling the affects of the changes implemented by the government to accommodate the event. Some may see the Summit as a glorious vacation, but is everything the government doing really necessary or is it just their attempt for temporary cosmetic change?
Here are 8 sacrifices that Filipinos are enduring and will endure for next week’s APEC Summit.
Work and classes will be put to a stop for the public sector and schools from November 17 to 20. Schools are now expected to arrange extra class days to make up for the four days of school lost.
While November 18 and 19 will be non-working holidays for the private sector, not everyone will be having fun. Not working or going to school may not be a bad thing or even a sacrifice for some, but think of all those days that children could have spent learning, or the days that the government sectors could have spent doing their jobs. If the Philippines needs to come to a standstill every time an event as big as the summit comes here, what will happen then to the people’s productivity?
Minimum wage workers (who earn at least P466 a day) and all other employees are forced to take a two-day break next week, meaning that they would not receive any pay for that day even though it’s a non-working holiday. But if they do work that day, they will not receive full payment. Here are the pay rules the Department of Labor and Employment announced for November 18 to 19:
- If the employee did not work, the “no-work, no-pay” principle shall apply, unless there is a favorable company policy, practice, or collective bargaining agreement (CBA) granting payment on a special day;
- If the employee worked, he or she shall be paid an additional 30 percent of his or her daily rate on the first eight hours of work [(daily rate x 130 percent) + COLA];
- If the employee worked in excess of 8 hours (overtime work), he or she shall be paid an additional 30 percent of his or her hourly rate on said day (hourly rate of the basic daily wage x 130 percent x 130 percent x number of hours worked);
- If the employee worked during a special day that also falls on his or her rest day, he or she shall be paid an additional 50 percent of his or her daily rate on the first 8 hours of work [(daily rate x 150 percent) + COLA];
- If the employee worked in excess of 8 hours (overtime work) during a special day that also falls on his or her rest day, he or she shall be paid an additional 30 percent of his or her hourly rate on said day (hourly rate of the basic daily wage x 150 percent x 130 percent x number of hours worked).
“It is so easy for the Aquino government—that has displayed extraordinary callousness and apathy towards the common people—to say that workers will not be receiving pay for two days or more during the APEC meeting. The unfeeling government fails to see how the daily wage earners are already struggling to make ends meet with today’s wages and high cost of public goods and services,” said Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares.
In order for delegates to have smooth sailing trips around Metro Manila, EDSA and Roxas Boulevard (as well as many other streets in Manila) will be closed or rerouted. Private and public cars are to be use strategically-planned routes from November 16 to 20.
A Stop and Go scheme will be implemented in EDSA, Roxas Boulevard, SLEX and Skyway and some roads from around the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, wherein all public and private cars will be stopped whenever an APEC leader will pass through. MMDA announced that the two innermost lanes of southbound and northbound EDSA are for the exclusive use of APEC vehicles only. Truck bans will also be implemented during the day—trucks will only be allowed to use the roads from 10PM to 6AM.
This Monday, barriers were placed at the two innermost lanes of EDSA for a dry run in preparation for the summit. Although the MMDA declared the dry run a success, many citizens thought otherwise because of the (more) intense traffic it caused.
Who knew that 20 leaders in the Philippines was all the government needed to do something about the traffic? (They still failed, but still.)
Aside from the roads, the Philippine skies will also be clear on November 16 to 20. Major airlines in the Philippines like Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and AirAsia have cancelled a total of 1,364 international and domestic flights,which means no one can get in and out of the Philippines. Even passengers who have already booked tickets will have to rebook their flights due to the cancellation.
Makati will be busy on the days of the summit because it is said that all five-star hotels in Makati will be hosting at least one world leader. US President Barack Obama will be staying at Sofitel and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Century Park Hotel. All hotels will be packed with businessmen and delegates (and fans of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau). This means that if you were looking forward to a staycation in one of Makati’s hotels, you’ll have to rethink your plans.
Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Dinky Soliman admitted that Manila and Pasay’s local government have been instructed to warn informal settlers and street dwellers to stay off the streets during the Summit.
“Pinapa-alis kami ng BPS at saka ka itong mga taga-City Hall. Pinapa-uwi kami sa mga bahay namin. ‘Pag naabutan kami rito, ire-raker, dadalhin kami ‘dun, wala nang balikan,” says street vendor Ruben Pascua.
This is very similar to the time when beggars were taken to a hotel in Batangas during the Pope’s visit. The government admitted that they did take the beggars to Batangas during the Pope’s stay in the Philippines, but the allegation of hiding them was denied by Soliman. She explained that it has been a government’s policy to take homeless families and children to recreational centers from time to time. What great timing, though!
Another way the government is allegedly getting street dwellers off the streets is by paying them a sum of P4,000, an accusation that Soliman has denied. She instead said that the giving of money to people was under the orders of the individual DSWD of local governments, not hers.
A total of P10 billion has been used by the Philippine government for the APEC Summit preparations. Ambassador Mariano Paynor, Jr., the director general of the APEC 2015 National Organizing Council, says that the budget for the summit comes from the government’s long term investment fund.
The distribution of the budget has not been announced publicly, but let’s just hope that there isn’t anything fishy going on. One of the major changes for the Summit, though, has been NAIA’S renovation, which was pegged at worth P1.3 billion.
What other things do you feel you’re sacrificing for the APEC Summit? Share your thoughts with us by leaving a comment below!