PH shows off best products, hospitality ahead of 2018 ADB hosting
YOKOHAMA, Japan – As the 50th annual meeting of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) comes to a close here, the Philippines prepares to host the bank's next meeting in 2018.
At a launch event hosted by the Philippines on Sunday, May 7, guests enjoyed San Miguel beer and Zabana rum, and were gifted canvas bags adorned with tropical leaves. Ralfe artisanal chocolates from Cebu were also distibuted, while famous Filipino-American singer Apl de Ap's music played in the background. Videos of the Philippines' world-renowned beaches and tourist destinations were flashed on the wall for the audience to see.
The Philippine government also distributed USBs to guests, containing Philippine Economic Briefing notes, and a small brochure on the country's 10-point socioeconomic development agenda.
It was a way to get participants excited for the 2018 event.
In a statement, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said "the Government of the Republic of the Philippines is honored to host the next ADB Annual Meeting in Manila."
He said the event from May 3 to 6 next year, with the theme "Linking People and Economies for Inclusive Development," will "put the spotlight on connectivity, and how the region can leverage to make economic growth sustainable and truly inclusive."
"As next year's host, the Philippines welcomes you to its vibrant shores. Experience the Philippines' diverse culture, rich heritage, delectable cuisine, captivating sights, and the gracious hospitality of the Filipino people," Dominguez added.
Addressing the audience, he also talked about the logo for the 2018 meeting which looks like a flower. He said it was inspired by the national flower, the sampaguita, but upon closer look, is an image of people holding hands and working together.
At the event, SM Investments Corporation (SMIC) vice chairperson Tessie Sy-Coson also encouraged guests to invest in the Philippines. She said many may find President Rodrigo Duterte hard to understand, but assured potential investors that the Philippines is enjoying a growth momentum.
Toyota Philippines head Satoru Suzuki also spoke about the success of Toyota in the Philippines and said there is nothing to worry about with the Duterte administration.
"The current administration is very upright about its programs," he said.
'Beat Japan again'
ADB President Takehiko Nakao also narrated how the ADB headquarters came to be in the Philippines.
He said Japan hoped the ADB office would be in Tokyo, but the Philippines was also competing for it to be in Manila. A vote among 18 prospective regional members was held, so the country with a majority number of votes would win.
In the end, after 3 rounds of votes, and after then incoming Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos stayed up until 4 am wining and dining delegates on a presidential yacht to convince them to vote for the Philippines, 9 delegates voted for Manila, 8 for Tokyo, and one abstained.
"I hope Manila can beat Japan again in terms of hospitality, delicious food, and other things," Nakao said, eliciting laughter. This year, host city Yokohama reached a record of about 6,000 participants.
Nakao also said making Manila the headquarters of the ADB turned out to be the right decision, since the country is closer to developing nations in the region and the Philippines has many English-speaking people. He praised the Filipinos' hospitality.
The Bank's president also encouraged people to attend the meeting, adding there is still a lot to be done in the Philippines.
"The Philippines is a very good place for investments today, and the Philippines has been growing at a pace of 6-7%," he said.
"[But] we need more investment in infrastructure. Many people who visit Manila say, ADB is in the Philippines but still, transport in Manila is not as good," he said.
"We need to do more on transport, power, and also rural development in Mindanao and other areas." – Rappler.com