Rounded up by social workers, the street dwellers began returning to their old haunts even before the summit ended, while police were busy keeping protesters from getting near the Philippine International Convention Center, venue of the annual gathering.
Some street dwellers sought shelter in abandoned buildings along Taft and Buendia avenues in Pasay City after the government rounded them up at the start of APEC week.
They continued to forage garbage dumps for food and recyclable materials.
Police had been posted on streets to keep vagrants out of sight for the duration of the summit.
Street dwellers were sighted sleeping under the Light Rail Transit along Taft Avenue.
The STAR saw homeless people in vacant lots where they played hide and seek with police and social workers.
Hundreds of homeless people, including 140 children, were rounded up to beautify the city ahead of APEC, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW).
Authorities told street dwellers in Dakota street in Manila, not far from the PICC, to “keep off the streets” for at least a week beginning Nov. 16, HRW said in a Nov. 15 report.
“On the orders of local mayors, including Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, police and social workers are detaining them under guard in government facilities for the homeless and orphans,” said Phelim Kine, HRW deputy Asia director.
“Philippine authorities have violated the rights of hundreds of Manila residents to put a cynical veneer of ‘cleanliness’ on the city for APEC delegates. The removal and detention of homeless and impoverished residents from where they live and work without due process is a violation of their basic human rights.”
Since Nov. 9, authorities have rounded up several hundred adults and children from streets and informal settlements in Manila and surrounding municipalities of Metro Manila, and detained them without charges, HRW said.
Many of the adults operate food carts or sell scavenged items and were told by officials that they would be able to return to the streets and resume their work after the summit.
Witnesses told HRW that police, barangay officials and social workers appeared on the streets where people live and examined their tents and hovels.
The homeless were picked up and brought by truck to the Reception and Action Center (RAC), a social welfare facility that the Manila city government operates.
Source: Nov 21 Philstar