BGC lockdown strands many amid security for Xi
One of the country’s busiest and glitziest commercial area was on virtual lockdown on Tuesday night as tight security measures girded the streets for the state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
All roads leading to Bonifacio Global City (BGC) were closed or restricted to vehicular traffic, except cars in the VIP convoys carrying Chinese officials as part of Xi’s entourage.
The security cordon laid out for the Chinese leader, whom President Rodrigo Duterte once described as his “best friend,” was particularly harsh around the Shangri-La at the Fort hotel where Xi was billeted for his two-day visit.
On Wednesday, the Presidential Security Group (PSG) sought the understanding of the public “for the inconvenience caused” by the lockdown.
“As host to our state guest, we provided the necessary hospitality and security to ensure the smooth flow of movement,” PSG spokesperson Capt. Zeerah Blanche Lucrecia said in a statement.
The PSG, she said, had an array of tasks to do for its “security preparations,” including route security and traffic management, which needed the assistance of the Philippine National Police and the Metro Manila Development Authority.
Police stood in the middle of roads in and around BGC, preventing vehicles from passing and forcing hundreds of commuters to walk from their offices and commercial establishments as the lockdown emptied the streets of public transport.
Very few taxicabs and ride-hailing app vehicles plied the streets. The ride-to-passenger ratio could easily have reached 1 is to 1,000, observers said.
Like a quake struck
Lines of cars, vans and small trucks stalled by traffic stretched from the corner of Gil Puyat and Ayala Avenues to the elevated road connecting the Makati central business district to Taguig.
More vehicles were stuck along McKinley Road, starting from Edsa to its intersection with Lawton Avenue, a distance of about 5 kilometers.
People who had wormed their way out of BGC described the scene as similar to a coup d’état. Others said it was like a killer earthquake had struck, and police were closing roads that led to the disaster zone.
One man carrying boxes of pizza paused to catch his breath from his long walk. Asked to describe the lockdown, he spat out a Chinese invective, “p— s-!”
It might well have been the sentiment of thousands of others caught in the middle of Tuesday night’s nightmare. —With a report from Christine O. Avendaño
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