Philippines hit for 'hiding' poor at prestige event

Rights groups and unions slammed the Philippines Friday after it erected advertising hoardings that hid slum housing from delegates attending a conference on solving poverty in Asia.

The giant boards were put up beside a road taking 4,300 delegates from Manila airport to the Asian Development Bank meeting that began on Wednesday, blocking the view of an open sewer and shanties.

The boards advertised Philippine tourist attractions as well as the high-level meeting, which proclaimed as its theme "inclusive" growth for Asia, home to some 902 million of the world's poor according to the bank.

The government said it was merely trying to put its "best foot forward" but New York-based Human Rights Watch criticised the boards, saying it sent the message that dire poverty can just be ignored.

"Instead of trying to hide the poor, the Philippine government should be pressing the bank to tackle poverty head on," said Jessica Evans, the group's senior international financial institution advocate.

Union leader Josua Mata, of the Alliance of Progressive Labour-Centro, told AFP the attempt to wall off the poverty was "embarrassing" and the government should turn its focus to creating jobs and building resettlement sites.

President Benigno Aquino's office insisted the effort was not an attempt to hide poverty, which the government says affects a fourth of the population of 95 million.

"It's but natural to fix it (the city) up a bit and I don't think we're violating any human right by trying to put our best foot forward," presidential spokesman Ricky Carandang told reporters.

"We're not trying to whitewash poverty, it's very real," another spokesman, Abigail Valte, said.

Carandang said the government was spending 39 billion pesos ($907 million) this year in cash handouts to help three million poor families to escape poverty. The ADB lent the government $400 million in 2010 for the programme.

ADB external relations director Ann Quon defended the hosts.

"We do not think it is the host country's intention to paper over poverty in the Philippines," Quon said.

"In fact, the government has placed poverty reduction at the centre of its development agenda."

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • 15 wounded in 2 explosions in restive southern Philippines

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — At least 15 people have been wounded in two separate blasts that hit a police camp in a restive southern Philippine province where Muslim militants operate, police said Saturday. …

  • 15 wounded in mosque attack at Philippine police camp
    15 wounded in mosque attack at Philippine police camp

    Fifteen people including 10 police officers were wounded in an attack on a mosque at police camp on a remote Philippine island long plagued by Islamic militancy, officials said on Saturday. Successive blasts targeted the mosque inside Camp Kasim on the island of Jolo early evening Friday -- an initial grenade attack followed by a bomb explosion less than 10 minutes later that was intended to target police who rushed to the scene, local authorities said. "It seems the (first) explosion was set …

  • US missile cruiser docks at Subic
    US missile cruiser docks at Subic

    A US Navy missile cruiser has dropped anchor in Subic Bay as part of “routine port call,” amid rising tension in the West Philippine Sea stirred by China’s island building activities and other threatening moves by its forces. The arrival of the Ticonderoga-class missile cruiser USS Shiloh (CG-67) at the Subic Bay Freeport in Olongapo City yesterday was “just a routine port visit for ship replenishment and routine maintenance of shipboard system,” said Philippine Navy Public Affairs Office …

  • Agri, power sectors should brace for El Niño
    Agri, power sectors should brace for El Niño

    The agriculture and power sectors, as well as the general public should brace for a prolonged El Niño phenomenon that could further reduce water supply for electricity and irrigation, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) warned yesterday. Flaviana Hilario, acting deputy administrator for research and development of PAGASA, said the El Niño condition is expected to intensify from weak to moderate by August this year. Anthony Lucero, …

  • China to US: Help cool down Phl on sea row
    China to US: Help cool down Phl on sea row

    The US should help “cool down” the Philippines and realize that its meddling in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) dispute would only stir tensions, a Chinese newspaper reported. “Washington should know its meddling in the South China Sea has been destabilizing the region. The US has vowed not to take sides in the territorial dispute, which involves China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan. …

  • No stopping K to 12 despite SC case, protests
    No stopping K to 12 despite SC case, protests

    K to 12 is the fruit of years of comprehensive consultations involving different sectors in education,” Aquino said during the launching of the program at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City. Organized by the Department of Education (DepEd), the launch was attended by teachers, students and representatives from different stakeholders supportive of the K to 12 program. It was held two years after the signing of Republic Act 10533, or the Enhanced Basic Education …

  • MNLF pushes review of peace pact with gov’t
    MNLF pushes review of peace pact with gov’t

    The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) maintained its bid for completion of the tripartite review of the implementation of the peace agreement with the Philippine government in 1996. The MNLF’s desire to put consensual closure to the tripartite effort was relayed by its leaders to Sayed El-Masry, the special envoy of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), during the annual foreign ministers conference in Kuwait last Thursday. The MNLF peace agreement with the government in Sept. 2, …

  • Noy to raise sea dispute issue with Abe
    Noy to raise sea dispute issue with Abe

    President Aquino is expected to raise the West Philippine Sea dispute during his meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Japan next week. However, there is no word yet if the Philippines will specifically ask Tokyo to join calls for China to stop its massive reclamation activities in disputed waters. Aquino will leave for Tokyo on June 2 for a state visit until June 5. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options