The past couple of days I have seen the PN police in full riot gear early in the mornings, when I am headed back to the house. It was not until yesterday I realized that the Apec 2015 was being held right here in Bacolod. I have to be honest, I am not to up on Apec, but after reading some of the articles on their website, it would appear that they are certainly trying to improve things in the Asia-Pacific, and here in the Philippines. I read one article on Disaster Insurance that is being recommend for people, so they are covered in event of a natural disaster such as Typhoon, Flood, Earthquake that sort of thing. My first reaction when I read it was to laugh, knowing what happens in Canada with our insurance. Many many of the natural disasters are not covered unless you carry a specific rider which you pay an additional fee for. A perfect example of this is the Earthquake Insurance rider you need to add on house insurance in British Columbia.
Protesters Out In Force
This morning I was down near Central Park and there was maybe 150 – 200 protesters facing off with the PNP. Everything
seemed very peaceful, with someone on a loudspeaker in Ilonggo I suspect voicing his displeasure. Many of the protesters carried signs demanding an increase in Minimum Wage here in the Philippines to 16,000 pesos a month which is only $438.00 Canadian based on today’s exchange rates. Interesting, the demands are not much different from what you read in the news back in Canada. Having lived here the past 8 months or so, I have to say the Filipinos work very hard for the litter they make. Currently the minimum wages is 285 pesos a day, which in a month will work out about 7000 pesos after tax and SSS deductions. Now, I have lived in Southeast Asia long enough to realize that Western wages are different, but when you actually sit down and look at things. An average rent is approximately 5500 pesos a month, electric is 700 -1100 pesos a month, and water is 204 pesos which is the basic amount, so the cost can be much higher. We have not figured in phone, internet and all the other services that we back home take for granted.
Philippines National Police
I was very very impressed with these guys, everyone did a professional job. It seemed in some ways things were scripted, by the protesters. They sat quiet while the guy on the loudspeaker said his bit, then everyone stood and surged forward to the barricades.
At this point in time the Riot police fanned out to block access to the street going towards SM. Everyone closed ranks and simply stood their grounds. There was not a weapon other than batons in sight, though just back a ways there were some heavily armed officers, but that was a contingency that was there in reserve, though not openly visible. The fire truck with the huge water cannon was very evident however, and I suspect if things started to turn violent, the water canon would have had a controlling effect I would think.
The last day of the Apec 2015 is today here in Bacolod, and I suspect there will be another scheduled protest sometime later today, and I will do my best to be there to shoot pictures for it. I suspect it will be peaceful as all the other ones have been. I have to say, I hope someone sees the signs about increasing minimum wages for people here in the Philippines, there needs to be more money for people. Start helping the people and not all businesses.
All images thanks to Ken Dunlop Photography