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Bacolod City, Philippines Wednesday, November 11, 2015
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From the Center
with Rolly Espina
OPINIONS

All eyes on APEC

Rolly EspinaBefore I discuss the frenzied preparations in Metro Manila for next week's biggest economic event in the country, allow me to thank Vice Gov Bong Lacson who sent me a touching get-well-soon message via email after hearing of my mishap that led to my fractured hand.

Thank you for the thoughtful greeting and yes, I've been taking things slow lately after realizing it comes with old age territory. And thank you as well for taking notice and following my musings in this space.

Back to the APEC brouhaha, with the whole world glued on us for at least a couple of days, I totally agree with appeals from various sectors and personalities for us Filipinos to cooperate, put our best foot forward and make our country proud. Not just for the APEC hopefully but on a daily basis.

The presence of leaders from super worlds including US President Barrack Obama and China's President Xi Jingping among others will definitely put the spotlight on us and this is a good opportunity to show the world what we are made of.

Of course, as aesthetics are being fine-tuned, the national government are also scrambling to cover-up and rectify bad news that have put us on the international map of late, in particular the alleged bullet-planting scam in our airports and our homeless.

While it is welcome news that some 15 personnel in the OTS have been removed from their posts and are being investigated about the laglag-bala incidents, it really is confounding that they are only doing it now when the first incident that was reported involving the young American missionary happened way back September 17 th yet.

The pressure has been coming mostly from the media, particularly the social network, prompting lawmakers to tour our airports yesterday to determine if there were indeed lapses in security. It also led to the removal of the PNP's Aviation Chief and the entry of the National Bureau of Investigation to conduct an independent probe.

Just an observation though, I have been finding this PAO Chief Acosta very over-acting in defending the plight of those who were detained because of alleged possession of bullet in their belongings. I laud her for coming to their defense but her manner of criticizing fellow state employees is just so high and mighty.

The defense of some of these travelers who admitted they did have bullets but as amulets must also be scrutinized. I am not a fan but I think this anting-anting thing was popularized by our action stars like FPJ and former Sen. Ramon Revilla. Of course some have strong beliefs about this as their protection against evil but while it may be popular here, it may not be welcomed by other countries so I think we need to really educate our travelers on this point.

In other news too, the national government, in particular the DSWD, are being criticized for allegedly allocating millions again to relocate Metro Manila's homeless temporarily during the APEC week. If we recall, this agency also got the flak after they ferried the homeless to resorts for several days during the Pope's visit.

While it is laughable and another stop-gap, this government probably thinks this is way cheaper than what former First Lady Imelda Marcos did during their reign when she supposedly ordered the construction of a tall wall along the Makati highway to cover the squatters living alongside the railway when the country also hosted an international event then.

And then we were told that presidential sister and controversial actress, Kris Aquino will reportedly host a luncheon and a tour of the Intramuros for First Ladies who are attending the APEC. While some welcomed this news others dread the idea that Kris may just disgrace us with her tactlessness.

Knowing her propensity to hug the limelight, Kris might overdo things and overshadow the other First Ladies. Personally, while she can definitely be an asset, it would have been more prudent for the national government to choose the older Balsy who is more mature and simple and will surely allow the other First Ladies to shine rather than put focus on herself.

Well, this is something to watch though. Kris herself appealed to the public to “behave,” and my only wish is she does.

While there are pressing matters to discuss in the Summit, one thorny issue of course is the maritime dispute we and other neighboring countries have with China. And while I suppose they will not calendar this on the agenda lest it puts China on the defensive, I think this issue will be highlighted by the international press and I am sure there will be protests to this effect.

The national government will definitely ensure the security of the visiting leaders and by now, they probably have plans of containing rallies and while I respect the rights of those who want to air their grievance especially bring their concerns to the international world, I hope they will stop short of violence.*


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