EDITORIAL - To sacrifice and not to know what for

(The Freeman) - August 26, 2015 - 10:00am

Truckers, and the businesses they serve, are crying over the delays, lost productivity, and missed opportunities caused by the truck ban slapped on them to allow the smooth and unhampered travel of APEC delegates as they move from one billeting or meeting venue to another. Public transport commuters are also fretting over the rerouting that has been implemented for the same reason.

It must be submitted that some sacrifices have to be made in order to ensure that Cebu's hosting of some of the APEC meetings are successful and we do not get shamed in the eyes of the international community that's being represented in the meetings. But beyond trying to live up to expectations as graceful and willing hosts, most Cebuanos do not really know what intrinsic benefits Cebu might derive from the meetings.

All that the Cebuanos have been told is to cooperate and bear some of the inconveniences that may arise from our hosting the APEC meetings. Okay, fine, that is not something that Cebuanos -- fine, hardy, decent and friendly -- cannot do. But it would have been much better if somebody told us this is what we get in return. Or if we get nothing for the effort, at least the feeling of respect on being told can assuage the feeling of being lost and helpless.

To be sure, there are sectors particularly suited to benefit from the hosting. But they are too few and specialized to benefit the wider societal and economic spectrum that is getting affected by the hosting. This is not to be seen as bitching, sour-graping or complaining. But there is no sweeping under the rug the fact that after being told to do this and not to do that, Cebuanos have not been told anything else.

Not that there should be much to be expected. Virtually all of the meetings are of matters far too big and global to have any local relevance. At least that much Cebuanos perfectly understand and Cebuanos are intelligent enough not to expect to figure in any of them, except perhaps in the pride of being permenently named in any resulting agreement, such as, say, the Cebu Protocol or the Cebu Declaration.

But that is something for posterity. To the ordinary folk whose lives have been disrupted even in the smallest way, a simple explanation of what it means to him or her would have been enough. Again, Cebuanos are among the easiest people to please. But first you have to please them. For after they have been told to do this and not to do that, certainly they deserve something better than to be left standing there and knowing not for what.

The word APEC is on everybody's lips. Everybody is talking APEC this and APEC that. Sadly almost nobody knows what it is and what it means to their lives. And to think that they have, in one way or another, to put up with its effects. Cebu, with an eye to global stature, will most certainly host more international events in the future. When the next opportunity comes, maybe it would help if, in addition to the DOs and DON'Ts, Cebuanos are told what hosting means for them.

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