Philippines braces for disruption, tight security over summit


Manila (dpa) – The Philippines will close roads in the capital, clear street vendors and cancel flights as it hosts an economic summit next week.

“We ask for everyone’s cooperation, patience and indulgence,” Marciano Paynor, head of the Philippines’ organizing committee for the APEC summit, said Thursday. “There is no doubt that many of us will be inconvenienced, but it is part of the hosting.”

More than 1,200 domestic and international flights to and from Manila have been cancelled starting this weekend as part of preparations for the arrival of 21 world leaders for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.

Some highways through Manila will be closed for five days starting Sunday, while buildings along these roads have been told they cannot open their windows during the entire event.

“People will not be able to move as freely as they are used to,” Paynor conceded.

Street vendors and homeless people near the venues have been rounded up, while protesters were told that they demonstrate only in designated areas away from the site of the summit.

“As long as the protest will not affect the movement of leaders, will not cause our guests unnecessary and undue embarrassment, as long as it does not impinge on security, then everyone’s allowed to say their piece,” Paynor said.

The government has declared public holidays in the capital during the APEC meetings on November 17-20.

Filipinos took to social media to complain, with many calling the security restrictions excessive.