After joining the day’s protest at the US Embassy today, Kalipunang Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) and Bagong Alyasang Makabayan (BAYAN) Metro Manila ate in a ‘salu-salo’ at their ‘homeless camp’ at Mendiola on November 12. The dinner was shared with residents of Manggahan Floodway who lost their homes and camped out at Mendiola since the last week of October.

The dinner was held at the same time as the gala dinner that President Rodrigo Duterte hosted at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay for world leaders attending the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit.

United States of America (US) President Donald Trump sat to Duterte’s left at the dinner.

Elite’s dinner vs poor’s salu-salo

The salu-salo that the protesters called ‘homeless dinner’ had rice, tuyo (dried fish), noodles and fish crackers in its menu. They said this is staple food for the majority poor Filipinos in the country.

Meanwhile, the ASEAN gala dinner partook in ‘modern Filipino food’ prepared by one of the country’s top chefs. The menu included ensaladang ubod at alugbati (heart of palm and malabar spinach salad), sinigang na maya maya sa miso (soured red snapper in miso broth), bistek sushi (Filipino steak sushi), charcoal grilled apahap fillet with tomcat-mango sambal and budin (Filipino caramel flan).

“While the ASEAN leaders feast on what they call modern Filipino food, Floodway residents scramble to survive night after night after their homes were demolished by the local government and systematically ignored by Duterte,” said Raymond Palatino, BAYAN Metro Manila Chairperson.

According to Palatino, the ASEAN gala event hosted a dinner for politicians responsible for the worsening the state of homelessness, hunger and violence against the poor.

“The imeldific ASEAN event is a stark contrast to the ordinary Filipinos in the city and in the provinces where poverty and hunger are prevalent because of land grabbing, lack of jobs and rising prices,”

Gloria Arellano, Kadamay Chairperson, also slammed the P15.5 billion ASEAN Summit budget as extravagantly anti-poor.

“Are we getting a return [of investments] on the lavish chocolates that the government will spend P4,000 on for each guest? And more importantly the P15.5 B? The only return is on military spending for more bombings plunder, more EJKs [extrajudicial killings] of poor Filipinos, more homelessness and joblessness,” Arellano said.

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