Tuesday, April 13, 2010
REPORTING (PART-TIME) THE NUCLEAR SUMMIT
Leaders from 47 nations, including the host, President Obama, converged in Washington DC on April 12-13 to discuss nuclear security, especially how to stop rogue states and criminal or terrorist groups from getting their hands on the raw materials and technology to make an atomic bomb.
The event drew more than 900 journalists from all over the world, and the cavernous press area resembled a media United Nations of sorts.
The summit was held at the Washington Convention Center in downtown DC.
It sparked one of the biggest security clamp-downs in the US capital, as thousands of policemen, soldiers, marshalls and Secret Service men, blocked off areas surrounding the Convention Center and protect the VIPs during their stay in DC.
It was the biggest gathering of world leaders in the US in almost 56 years.
Fil-Ams from the "Never Again to Martial Law Coalition" picketed in front of the White House on April 11, the eve of the summit and arrival of President Arroyo to register their protest against rampant human rights violations and corruption in the Philippines.
A larger group of Falun Gong protesters held their demonstration on Monday, just outside the security perimeter of the Convention Center.
But more than anything else, it was a happy occasion to reunite with old and new friends who also covered this historic event. My old pal Ros Manlangit had (again) left the papers to join Malacanang. And of course there was Ging and Momar and Eunice. And Joey Romblon, one of ABS-CBN's rising cameramen who really took advantage of opportunities we helped open when I was news operations manager way back when in Quezon City.
And the unsinkable Boy Aguinaldo of PTV-4. And Rocky and new acquaintance Elena Aben of the Bulletin (Ros introduced her as the new generation of the Defense Press Corps)
It always feels good to be with friends, and to be working (even if part-time) on another historic event that people will be referencing for a long time to come, and I can say, "I was there".