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Ruby won’t stop Apec inaugural meet in Manila

/ 06:47 AM December 07, 2014
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Department of Foreign Affairs building. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—The inaugural meeting of the 2015 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) conference, which 400 officials from the region’s 21 member economies are expected to attend, will go on as scheduled despite the threat of heavy rains in Metro Manila from Typhoon “Ruby” (international name: “Hagupit”).

Some 30 delegates for the Apec Informal Senior Officials Meeting (Isom) arrived Saturday while the rest are expected to fly in by Sunday for the Dec. 8 to 9 meeting at the Makati Shangri-la hotel.

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The Isom, the inaugural assembly of Apec member economies in the Philippines as a part of the country’s role as 2015 Apec chair, was scheduled to be held in Legazpi, Albay, but had to be transferred to Manila because Typhoon Ruby was expected to hit Albay directly.

Apec groups 21 economies in the Pacific Rim and aims at promoting free trade and economic cooperation in the region. All Apec-related meetings will be hosted by the Philippines during the 2015 hosting year, which will culminate in the Leaders Summit in November 2015.

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“Some Apec dignitaries are already in Manila,” said Vicente Guerzon, assistant general manager for security and emergency services of the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA).

He said that the role of the MIAA, which runs all the terminals of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia), was to assist the arriving delegates and ensure their safety.

Guerzon said security at the airport was “normal but we are vigilant” as of Saturday.

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the Isom will introduce the Philippines’ Apec 2015 priorities.

The DFA said the Philippines as chair of Apec 2015 aims “to ensure continuity of past and ongoing work in Apec, promote balance of and relevance to each member economy’s domestic and regional needs, and ensure sustainability of efforts in achieving Apec’s short, medium and long term goals.”

The Isom will be a two-part event, composed of a Symposium on Apec 2015 Priorities, to be followed by a Senior Officials Consultative Dialogue on Apec Priorities on the second day.

DFA officials said the Apec kick-off event would push through despite the heavy rains in the capital on Monday and Tuesday because of Ruby.

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According to the weather bureau, although Manila will not be hit directly, the typhoon will bring rains starting on the morning of Sunday.

“As of now, the Isom will go on on Monday and Tuesday,” said Assistant Secretary Charles Jose, the DFA spokesperson.

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TAGS: 2015 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, APEC, Hagupit, Ruby, Typhoon Ruby
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