MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III will bring his advocacies of “governance and structural reforms” when he attends the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Summit in Beijing in early November.
Asked for the President’s advocacies at the summit, Foreign Undersecretary Laura del Rosario also said in a news briefing in Malacañang on Wednesday, October 29: “The President is always talking about governance and structural reform. We’re trying to look at ways and means to make business easier.”
She said APEC host China is focusing on small and medium enterprises, including improving access to financing, technology, and better human resources – which will be pursued as well by the Philippines when it becomes the APEC host in 2015.
During the Leaders’ Summit, the President will discuss with other leaders advancing regional economic integration, Del Rosario said.
‘No maritime dispute discussions’
Responding to questions, Del Rosario said that the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea dispute) is “not at all” in the APEC leaders’ agenda, which is economic in nature. She also said that the issue does not involve the entire Pacific region.
She dismissed suggestions that the maritime dispute topic was excluded from the agenda because of host China, which has territorial rows with some APEC member-countries such as the Philippines, Vietnam, and Japan.
“If you noticed, APEC has been here for the past 25 years. They never talked about anything political – never. The only time it was semi-political (was) when terrorism came in…. And at that time, they did not talk about how to address terrorism, but rather, they talked about how to protect trade from terrorist attacks,” Del Rosario said.
When asked, Del Rosario said that based on requests, the President will meet with some of his counterparts from Latin America, among others, but declined to specify them. The Latin American member-countries in APEC are Chile, Peru, and Mexico.
She said the bilateral meetings will be centered on “possible investments,” especially as from a Philippine perspective, Latin America is “like a new frontier” because of its great distance from the country.
“If we strengthen our relationships, for instance, with Mexico, and Peru, and Chile, then somehow we already have a foothold there (Latin America),” Del Rosario said.
Aquino will depart for Beijing on November 9. From Beijing, he will proceed to Myanmar on November 11 for the Asean Summit.
On November 9, Aquino will speak before APEC business leaders on economic reform for competitive growth.
He will also have a dialogue with the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) on promoting disaster resilience, small, micro- and medium enterprises, financial inclusion, and domestic governance.
Del Rosario said that there will also be discussions on the Internet economy. – Rappler.com