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Behave, Palace begs WEF protesters

MANILA, Philippines—Malacañang on Sunday said law enforcement authorities were all ready to ensure the peaceful and orderly hosting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) on East Asia in Manila from Wednesday to Friday.

Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr.. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., of the Presidential Communications Operations Office, appealed to groups planning to stage demonstrations during the forum days, particularly the Black Friday protest to be mounted by Anakbayan against the pork barrel scam, to conduct orderly rallies.

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Traffic authorities also advised motorists to avoid roads leading to the Philippine International Convention Center from (PICC) May 21 to 23.

At least two heads of state and about 600 business and government leaders from 30 different countries are expected to arrive this week for the three-day WEF.

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Speaking over government radio, Coloma underscored the importance of the forum, saying the Philippines was hosting it at a time East Asia is expected to top the list as the region with the strongest economic performance and expansion.

He said President Aquino will welcome 600 leaders and delegates from the business, finance and civil sectors. Among the leaders attending the three-day forum are Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and Myanmar Vice President Nyan Tun.

“We hope we would be able to show and make our visitors feel why ‘it’s more fun in the Philippines’ when they head to Tagaytay, Clark and other areas, and witness the other aspects of Filipino life such as the people’s goodness,” Coloma said in Filipino.

Coloma said police and other law enforcers had come up with comprehensive plans to ensure the peaceful and orderly holding of the forum.

President Aquino gave clear directives to the Philippine National Police “to do what’s necessary” so the forum could push through without any hitches, according to Coloma.

“The holding of the WEF East Asia in the country is a strong recognition of the strength of the Philippines’ macroeconomic fundamentals brought about by its implementation of many social and government reforms,” Coloma said.

The forum will focus on achieving equitable progress, advancing models for sustainable growth, and realizing regional connectivity, he said.

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Delegates will tackle opportunities for business and investment in the Asean economic community for 2015 and programs that would ensure wide, meaningful and fair development for over three billion people in East Asia, India and China, Coloma said.

As the preparations for forum go into full swing, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority advised motorists to avoid roads leading to the PICC.

MMDA Chair Francis Tolentino said the agency was designating a “special forum lane” to allow the delegates to move with ease.

“My suggestion to motorists is to avoid the area around PICC on the 22nd, particularly near Gil Puyat Avenue and Roxas Boulevard between 4:30 p.m.  and 7 p.m. to give way to the delegates,” Tolentino said.

Pasay City has also revved up its preparations, which include the deployment of traffic officers and 264 policemen to ensure 24-hour security at WEF venues.

“We are working doubly hard to ensure that the forum will be secure and peaceful,” Pasay police chief Senior Supt. Florencio Ortilla said.

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TAGS: Malacañang, protesters, protests, World Economic Forum (WEF)
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