PRESIDENT Ramos has said repeatedly that the Philippines stands to gain from hosting this year's Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation (Apec) forum summit. The Apec-National Organising Committee is going to make sure he is not wrong. The committee stands to earn tens of thousands of dollars from journalists by charging them like wounded bulls for rented office space and equipment in the press centres to be set up in Manila and Subic Bay. A square metre of space in either press centre costs US$11 a day. In Manila, the press centre will be set up in the newly-renovated Philippine International Convention Centre where the senior officials and ministerial meetings will be held. The press centre in Subic will be in the old George Dewey school. For office equipment, journalists will pay flat rates. They can set up as early as November 15 and leave as late as November 26, according to officials of the organising committee. The leaders' summit is on November 25 in Subic. The ministerial meeting will be held in Manila on November 22 and 23, while the senior officials' meeting will be held on November 20 and 21. For a 133-Mhz Pentium computer and a bubble jet printer, journalists will have to pay more than US$650. A telephone line costs $250 (exclusive of long-distance charges), a facsimile machine, another $150. Rental for a photocopier is $200. Video transmission by microwave costs $300 an hour from Manila to a gateway, from Subic the rate is $500 an hour. Transmission by satellite will cost $521.02 for the first 10 minutes and $28.75 for each additional minute. What really has journalists shaking their heads are the charges for furniture. Chairs will be rented out for $15 or $25, depending on whether they are upholstered. A shelf or a coffee table goes for $20, while a 'working desk' or a conference table will be rented out at between $20 to $25 (the organising committee still hasn't decided). If a reporter wants a place to put the press releases containing the waffle Apec delegates are famous for, he'll have to pay $5 for a waste basket. Journalists in Manila are irritated because they say that for much of the equipment, the rental rates are not much lower than what it would cost to buy them outright in local department stores. The organising committee had tried to justify the prices by saying the rates were based on those in the rate card used in Osaka last year. Last Friday, though, the committee said it would review the charges and come up with more 'reasonable rates.' The committee sought to lay the blame on the management of the Philippine International Convention Centre (PICC), but an employee of the organising committee pointed out the rates in the card are for both Manila and Subic, 'so obviously it wasn't the PICC which set the rates'.