VIRAL: Photo captures how APEC inconveniences motorists

Noel Lopez
VIRAL: Photo captures how APEC inconveniences motorists
Netizens react to a photo depicting the traffic situation during the APEC summit

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – The picture shows the great divide on the road.

Here’s a photo of the two-lanes reserved for #APEC2015 vehicles and the slow-moving traffic on the other lane along EDSA Extension. #CommuterWatch photo taken by Carlo de Castro

Posted by Move.PH on Monday, November 16, 2015
What looked like a poster for The Walking Dead television show was an actual shot, with an edited photo even thrown in the mix of comments to match the mood.
 
People are pointing out that with efforts to secure the delegates, traffic in the Metro hit all-new lows as motorists saw vehicles crawl to a standstill. Many commuters also complained about having to walk for hours to get to their workplaces.
 
The police earlier reminded Filipinos to avoid EDSA and other areas affected by APEC. Classes on all levels and work in the public sector have been suspended for the duration of the summit, but employees in the public sector still have to report to their work on the 17th and 20th.
 
A matter of inconvenience

Disgruntled Facebook users raged about the inconvenience that APEC security measures have caused:

If that’s how the Filipino people will suffer, APEC shouldn’t have been held here – or, [it should have been] held outside Metro Manila, at least in Clark Field. It is a punishment to most of the common folk… good planning means no one is inconvenienced,” Rodrigo Feliciano said.

Ryan Taclan agreed, saying, “People should not have to be inconvenienced for the security of the delegates.”

The government reportedly spent P 9.8 billion in preparation for the meet, being hopeful that investments would roll in, especially given that APEC’s 21 member countries account for more than half of the world’s trade. (READ: APEC what? An explainer on Manila’s high-profile week)

A matter of security

Some users approved the steps taken by the government for the delegates’ security.

Minerva Gomez reminded Filipinos of the need for security, saying, “That’s fine! Look at what happened to Paris.”

Ricardo Antonio agreed with her and asked people to  “Make a little sacrifice” because “[the Philippines] can’t afford to have anything happen to our guests.”

The idea of both traffic congestion and a possible terrorist attack worried user Jmel Prado Nuyda. “Do we really want those delegates getting stuck in our traffic and THEN getting killed by some nut with a bomb [in our own backyard]? Seriously, let it go.”

Recent terrorist attacks worldwide, most notably in Paris, prompted security drills in APEC-related venues and roads. Road closures and traffic diversions have already been readied for security reasons, as well as a stop-and-go scheme, where vehicles outside of the “APEC lane” should stop whenever a delegate passes. (READ: Road closures, alternate routes for APEC summit)

A matter of hospitality

People on the conversation seemed split on their opinions, but some can’t help but think it’s purely Filipino nature to be a good host.

Akeeyuki Wong and Wilfredo Balilia had opposing views to the matter. For Wong, Filipinos treat their guests well, whether it be in their own home or in the country, and the leaders attending the summit were no different.

Balilia, however, believed that the country did not have to go to such lengths to accomodate the delegates, noting that “the intention and benefits of APEC are good, but can we stop having such trouble whenever dignitaries come and visit?”

He called for a solution to the logistical problems exposed during the summit so the country “can host local and foreign functions or gatherings” without having to “put on hold the citizens’ daily economic activities.” – with a report from Bea Orante/Rappler.com

Noel Lopez, a student from AMA University, is a Rappler intern.

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