Asean budget could have gone to help the poor, militants say

By Jessa Mae O. Sotto, USC Intern Therese Alegado |November 13,2017 - 10:29 PM

AGAINTS ASEAN SUMMIT AND US PRESIDENT TRUMP RALLY/NOV. 13, 2017: At least a hundred members from various left-wing movements staged a protest rally while burning a US flag in front of the Cebu International Convention Center, against the ASEAN Summit in Manila and the participation of US President Donald Trump.(CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA)

IN staging their rally at the dilapidated Cebu International Convention Center (CICC) yesterday, Cebu-based militant leftist groups objected to the billions of pesos spent by the government to host the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summit in Manila.

Jaime Paglinawan, chairperson of the militant Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) in Central Visayas, said it cost half a billion pesos to build the CICC only for the venue to end up serving as a temporary shelter for fire victims of Mandaue City.

“Mao nga CICC ang venue sa amo rally kay last 2007 dinhi sa Cebu ang last hosting sa Asean (That is why we choose CICC as the venue of our rally because last 2007 Cebu hosted the Asean summit),” he said.

The Ombudsman ordered last year the filing of graft charges against former governor and now Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia of Cebu’s 3rd District along with several former officials in relation to the alleged anomalous procurement of architectural and engineering designs for the CICC project.

Less than a hundred protesters from various militant groups staged the rally. Paglinawan criticized the Duterte administration for spending billions to host the event, saying the funds could have provided housing and education to the poor.

He also reiterated anew their criticism against US imposition on the country’s economy.

Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III said he hoped Asean leaders will discuss common security concerns specifically the terror threat of ISIS especially in the wake of the Marawi City conflict.

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