DAVAO CITY – The National Council of Churches in the Philippines said there was no need to cause misery on the people just to show the hospitality of the Philippines for the visiting dignitaries of the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders’ meeting.

In a statement to the press, Fr. Rex Reyes, NCCP secretary general said  ‘there is no doubt about Philippine hospitality. 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?’

As the Philippine government has tried to make the whole 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 on Monday.

Some who got tired and weary were left with no choice but to go back home after hours stranded along EDSA, Roxas Boulevard and other major roads that have been closed.

“This is what Filipino hospitality brought to the life of the ordinary Juan and Maria at the onset of the APEC Meeting. Special lanes were designated, major roads were closed and Juan and Maria were left stranded. Traffic is stopped whenever a world leader arrives at the airport,” said Reyes.

NCCP described APEC “as an instrument of economic globalization and the neo-liberal agenda that goes with it.”

“Its aim was to see the world as an economic “level playing field” where all protection of national industries and the barriers to the entry of international business are obstacles that need to be dismantled,” it said.

“We have seen the privatization of public utilities and services, a move away from seeing the rights of the people as the criteria for providing services, and towards the rights of companies to make profits as the main criteria. We have seen our country opened to the new technocratic initiatives in public private partnership, where government has divested itself of public assets in favor of private companies who develop them not in the public interest but for profit”, Fr. Reyes stated.

The group challenged the church people “to ask if these trends in economic globalization have really made things better for our people.”

“The evidence appears to indicate it has not, as unemployment and under-employment reached unprecedented levels, our country continues to leech off the blood of our migrant workers, and multinational corporations increasingly come to exploit and extract our natural resources with little or no regard to the health of the environment,” said Reyes.

“It is the poor and marginalized who continue to suffer and pay the cost of the lust for profit by these global elites,” Reyes said. (davaotoday.com)

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