A Facebook post of a photo showing a welcome banner for international delegates of the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit went viral on Friday as the said publicity material spelled the host country’s name incorrectly: “Philppines.”
The summit would be held two days from today.
The banner was spotted at the footbridge at the intersection of Legarda Street and Recto Avenue in Manila. It was hung near the 3-week old ‘Homeless Camp’ of the demolished residents of Floodway, Pasig City at Mendiola Bridge.
The Facebook post that used the hashtags #WrongSpellingWrong and #BanTrump went viral. It had more than 900 reactions, more than 300 comments and more than 1,200 shares as of this posting. It took a jab at the ASEAN Summit budget, saying “This is where our P15.5B go..”
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan Metro Manila aired their dismay over the said error in spelling out the name of the country in an official printed material. They said that it is indeed “a national shame to the international community given that billions of taxpayers’ money have been used for this purpose.”
Bayan Metro Manila said that P15.5B to P17B budget, five times more than the APEC 2015 budget that was criticized for extravagance at the time, was allotted by the Duterte government for the preparations for ASEAN 2017 and the 12th East Asia Summit. The occasion would also be first state visit of US President Donald Trump in the country.
They insisted that “this huge amount is clearly a waste of public money that could have used for offering basic social services to poor families.”
The Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) denied that they are responsible for the printing of the said tarpaulins.
In their statement, the PCOO clarified that they “are already investigating who ‘donated’ and ‘mounted’ said tarpaulins as these were neither printed by PCOO, PIA [Philippine Information Agency], TIEZA [Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority], MMDA [Metropolitan Manila Development Authority] nor the DPWH [Department of Public Works and Highways].”
The tarpaulin bore the icon used for the 50th year of ASEAN.
The PCOO was allotted P1.5 B for activities related to the ASEAN. This was noted to be P300,000 more than the office’s budget for the entire year.
The PCOO also said that they have requested the ASEAN 2017 National Organizing Committee personnel to remove said tarpaulins.
The P1 billion contract for the preparations for the ASEAN this year was given to Stagecraft International, amid allegations of the contractor having been favored.
The Department on Interior and Local Government (DILG) on their end said they already started removing the “erroneous ASEAN tarpaulins.”
According to DILG-NCR Public Information Office chief, Kristine Torres, “The Task Unit Community Relations is in the process of removing the tarpaulins. We humbly extend our apology to the public for this oversight. We would also like to thank our netizens for calling our attention on the matter.”