Aquino, secretaries learn from China, eye successful Apec in PH
MANILA, Philippines—President Benigno Aquino III and his Cabinet members are diligently observing China’s work, not in the West Philippine Sea, but as this year’s host of the Asia Pacific Economic Conference (Apec).
“If you noticed, a lot of the Cabinet secretaries who accompanied the President, their agencies will be hosting Apec meetings,” Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte told Palace reporters on Tuesday.
The Philippines will host the APEC in November 2015.
Aquino and his delegation were recently in Beijing for the Apec Economic Leaders’ Meeting. While the relationship of the Philippines and China remain complicated because of the territorial disputes in the West Philippine Sea, Malacañang said China has been a gracious host.
Valte pointed out that the accompanying Cabinet members, Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, and Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan, will host some of the Apec meetings in the country next year.
“I am quite sure that a lot of them were paying attention with what’s happening, to take stock on the best practices that their departments can adopt,” she said.
The nine cities and provinces that will serve as venues of the meetings are Clark, Legazpi City, Bagac, Boracay, Cebu, Manila, Bacolod, Iloilo and Tagaytay City.
At one of the meetings he attended, Aquino said he wanted to emulate the example of China.
“I was told President thoroughly enjoyed the cultural presentation (of China). In fact he mentioned during his remarks at the CEO summit that the Philippines, being the incoming host to Apec, wishes to emulate the chairmanship of the current host, which is China,” Valte said. “So I am quite sure that a lot of our Cabinet secretaries were taking notes and enjoying the cultural presentation (as well).”
However, Valte explained that the aim is not to compete with previous hosts.
“Every member economy has something different to offer when Apec comes to their country,” she said.
“Hopefully we will be able to showcase not just the beauty of our country but also the strengths of our people,” she added, describing the Filipino population as young, modern and dynamic.
“That is something we want to show apart from the traditional Filipino warmth and hospitality.”
She said there is still no decision if the Philippines will follow China’s decision to declare a six-day holiday to ease traffic and reduce pollution.
In 1996, under former President Fidel Ramos, the Philippines has had the opportunity to “pull off a successful hosting,” Valte added.
She said the country has been preparing for the event for the last two years and remains on track.
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