Tuesday, December 06, 2005

A tale of two Manilas

Makati City, the downtown area of Manila, boasts the head offices of 400 of the leading corporations of the Philippines, the country's stock exchange, 472 banks, 1,832 financial institutions, 149 insurance companies and 86 foreign embassies and consulates. And that doesn't include the five star hotels, upmarket shopping malls and some of the country's most exclusive housing enclaves.

"On the surface Makati gives the impression of a first world city but tucked away from the bright lights is Makati's dark side where thousands of poor live in shacks, surviving day-to-day off the streets."

Here, from Agence France Presse, is a profile of Makati City's Mayor, Jejomar 'Jojo' Binay, who has improved the finances of the city, but stands accused of taking a page from the Three Penny Opera and using the poor hordes who are beholden to him to quash any opposition. Even street peddlers must hew to Binay's policies or risk losing their permits to operate, the article says.

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