2015 APEC Summit to keep PH ‘top of mind’

Judith Balea
Preparations are in full swing for the holding of the 2015 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in the Philippines in 2015

GETTING READY FOR 2015. Guillermo Luz of the Philippine National Competitiveness Council talks about preparations for the hosting of the APEC Summit in the Philippines in 2015

MANILA, Philippines – Preparations are in full swing for the holding of the 2015 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in the Philippines – an event that will put the country, once known as the “sick man of Asia,” in the world spotlight.

The Philippines has gone a long way since it last hosted this rare event over a decade ago, and officials gave assurance the 2015 APEC summit would keep the country “top of mind.”

“The value of APEC is we build relationship with 20 other economies,” said Guillermo Luz, private sector co-chairman of the Philippine National Competitiveness Council, during a media briefing on Tuesday, May 28.

“We could sit down and do a computation for the number of visitors we will get, for instance. That gets pumped into the economy in terms of hotel spending, F&B (food and beverage) spending, incidentals and shopping. But the real benefit is, you’re going to get noticed.

“It’s the relationship that we build up over time that yields results for us over time,” he added.

The summit can’t come at a better time. The Philippines this year earned investment grade status, a vote of confidence in its ability to keep its fiscal house in order and a signal to investors it is safe to do business here.

Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Laura del Rosario said investments are sure to come in during and even after the APEC Summit.

The Philippines will host the summit after Indonesia this year and China in 2014. Peru will follow in 2016. Other countries have also “lined up” to host the event.

“APEC member-countries are so eager to host this event because it sure brings in a lot of investments,” remarked del Rosario, who is also secretariat of the APEC-National Organizing Council.

The event will bring together 21 world leaders, who will discuss a range of issues with the aim of boosting political and economic ties.

APEC, which also includes the US, groups together countries around the Pacific Rim that account for over half of the world’s economic output.

Luz said aside from the summit itself, senior officials’ meetings (SOMs) and “sectoral ministerial” meetings (SMMs) would be held yearlong.

Del Rosario said these meetings would focus on the following topics:

  • Education
  • Energy
  • Food Security
  • Small and Medium Enterprises
  • Oceans
  • Science and Technology
  • Transportation
  • Women and the economy

No date, venue yet

No date and venue have been set for the summit yet.

But Luz said the summit is traditionally held in October or November.

Several areas have been shortlisted as possible venues, in the meantime. These are:

  • Metro Manila
  • Cebu
  • Tagaytay
  • Clark
  • Subic
  • Albay
  • Iloilo
  • Bacolod
  • Boracay
  • Davao

Luz said the exact venues for the SOMs and SMMs alone would be determined by June.

Infra dev’ts

He said areas hosting the meetings would undergo makeovers, but nothing the country doesn’t need anyway.

“All infrastructure projects that are necessary for the summit are necessary for the country. We’re looking at infra that we need anyway, regardless if we’re doing APEC or not,” he said.

He noted these projects would be funded by the General Appropriations Act (GAA).

“They’re in the GAA anyway. We’re not building extra roads or new roads. That’s the regular road building program we have, the same goes for airports and other facilities.”

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The last time the country hosted the APEC summit was in 1996, during the term of then President Fidel Ramos. It was held in Subic, where participating world leaders were billeted in specially-constructed “APEC villas.” – Rappler.com