UNLIKE the practice of the Aquino administration of rounding up indigent families during big international events, the Metro Manila Development Authority will not act against the poor during the Miss Universe beauty pageant later this month.
MMDA acting chairman Thomas Orbos said he ordered his men not to conduct operations against street dwellers in connection with the pageant upon the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte.
“There will be no cleanup and that is the good thing on the statement of the President... not to hide the reality of poverty. It is good for us because before, they’re hiding the street dwellers and beggars,” said Orbos.
“That’s the reality and there is nothing to be ashamed,” he said.
Government records showed that there are more than 1,500 street families in the National Capital Region.
Human Rights groups scored the government for allegedly hiding these people from the sight of dignitaries and the international media during high-level events in the Philippines.
Memorandum Circular No. 13, recently signed by President Duterte, mandates all departments, agencies, bureaus, and all government offices to support the Tourism department in hosting the 65th Miss Universe.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government, Philippine National Police, the local government units concerned, and other law enforcement agencies will ensure security and public safety during the international event. Special task forces have been organized in every host province.
The PNP official also assured that “no threat” has been detected anywhere in the country before the Miss Universe pageant.
Meanwhile, the Inter-agency Committee on Traffic (I-Act) will join law enforcement agencies in securing delegates and other personalities participating in the upcoming Miss Universe beauty pageant.
I-Act Deputy for Traffic Manny Gonzales said personnel of the MMDA Motorcycle Unit will participate in escorting vehicles of delegates during the event.
“The [Miss Universe] committee is requesting the [MMDA] escort motorcycles and we are now preparing it,” said Gonzales, adding there will be no road closure during the event.
The Department of Tourism is the lead agency in the Philippines hosting of the world’s most prestigious international pageant as approved by President Rodrigo Duterte in August last year upon the proposal of the Miss Universe Organization and private sponsor Luis Chavit Singson Group of Companies (LCS).
The agency assured that concerns about security, vehicular traffic, airport and immigration procedures, transport and accommodations have been addressed by the Miss Universe hosting secretariat in continuous preparations to welcome 87 delegates of the prestigious pageant from across the globe.