Aquino on APEC: ‘We have refocused on people’

Paterno Esmaquel II
Aquino on APEC: ‘We have refocused on people’
President Benigno Aquino III says each of the Philippines’ 11,000 visitors for APEC ‘creates one new job’ for Filipinos

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine President Benigno Aquino III on Thursday, November 19, trumpeted the Philippines’ gains by hosting the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit this year.

One of these, he said, is that each of the Philippines’ 11,000 visitors for the summit “creates one new job” for Filipinos.

In a media briefing to close the APEC Summit, Aquino said: “By balancing the discussions in APEC between the technical aspects of trade, and its implications on the social and environmental challenges of growth, we have refocused our discussions towards all our people – the ones whose lives we, as leaders, are pledged to improve.”

“Apart from the fact that, as a general rule, each one of these visitors creates one new job for us; they have also now seen our country and met our people. In other words, they have discovered that the Philippines not only works, but it is indeed more fun,” he added.

The annual 21-member APEC gathering – hosted this year by the Philippines – is meant to forge trade unity but often finds itself sidetracked by other events.

Protestors: APEC is anti-people

In their statement, APEC leaders called for more global cooperation in the struggle against terrorism, as a wave of deadly attacks claimed by the Islamic State group dominated the final day of a regional trade summit.

In his speech, Aquino added that the 11,000 people who joined the APEC Summit this week “is more than double the attendance of our previous hosting” in 1996.

He then thanked the people who helped organize the event. 

“Most importantly, I am grateful to our countrymen who have expressed their support for our hosting.  All my fellow leaders heaped praise on how our people have welcomed them, and their words really made me swell up with pride,” he said. 

Protestors in different parts of Metro Manila, however, condemned APEC

They’re shouting the opposite of Aquino’s claims: For them, APEC is actually against the people.

Progressive groups from various sectors on Thursday rejected APEC “for imposing onerous economic policies that satisfy foreign big corporations’ demands for cheap labor and raw materials.”– with reports from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com

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Paterno Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.