By now, most Filipinos have felt the effects of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit, most notably through the traffic the past few days. Even if schools and government institutions suspended classes and work, those working in the private sector still felt the brunt of the gridlocked roads. It was so bad that a netizen suggested the government build a bus rapid transit system to ease traffic.
Netizens have noticed the various ways the government has prepared for the annual summit, but no one seems to have noticed that the budget allotted was higher than the proposed budget for some government agencies. In an infographic released by Pinoy Weekly, the APEC budget is significantly higher than the proposed budget for the Departments of Trade and Industry, and Energy.
The budget spent for APEC was reported to be P10 billion, while the budget for DTI is P4.1 billion and for DOE, P1.8 billion. The APEC budget is also significantly higher than the proposed budgets for the National Economic and Development Authority (P7 billion), Department of Tourism (P3.6 billion), Commission on Audit (P9.1 billion), Civil Service Commission (P1.3 billion), and Department of Budget and Management (P1.4 billion).
But the government has defended the APEC budget. According to Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. , who was interviewed by Radyo ng Bayan:
For the attendance alone, it is expected that more or less 10,000 people including 3,000 media delegates, will participate in the APEC. Each one of them will spend that will go directly to our economy. We have to look at the bigger picture. We have to invest now. What we have planted will bear fruit in the future which is the favored investment. Big part of the development in the world is based on the so-called people-to-people friendship and cooperation. According to my friend, ‘an investor starts as a tourist; happy tourist becomes interested investor.
What do you think? Do you agree? Share your thoughts below!