HIDE It, if you Can't SORT It!-Manila Tries to Fence Off Slum Ahead of ADB Meeting

Shared by Nidhi Singh nee Batra-PRIA

DELEGATES attending an international conference in the Philippines capital may not see what they came to discuss: abject poverty.

A makeshift, temporary wall has been erected across a bridge on a road from the airport to downtown Manila that hides a sprawling slum along a garbage-strewn creek.

Presidential spokesman Ricky Carandang defended the wall’s installation, saying Thursday “any country will do a little fixing up before a guest comes”.

The Asian Development Bank has been based in the Philippine capital since its inception in 1966 with a mission to help fund infrastructure projects and reduce poverty in the region, yet the Philippines remains one ofAsia’s poorest countries.

Renato Reyes, secretary-general of an umbrella group of leftist activists known as Bayan, blames the bank for leaving countries such as thePhilippinesin debt, while expatriate bankers at the ADB enjoy tax-free status and are granted diplomatic immunity.

Mr. Reyes argues that walling off Manila’s slums from the ADB’s own financiers is exactly the wrong thing to do in a country where around a third of the population lives on less than $2 a day. In Manila alone, around a third of the population lives in crowded, fetid slums even as the country’s stock exchange trades at record highs.

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