19 August 2015

APEC News Releases

‘National cocktail’ being developed for APEC Leaders’ Summit
The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Advisory Council (ABAC) is in a quest to develop a ‘national cocktail’ or iconic drink that may be served at the APEC Leaders’ Summit in November, Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Charles Jose said Wednesday.The ABAC launched the search last August 16 at the World Presidents’ Organization annual membership night at the Ascott Bonifacio Global City Manila in Taguig City, Jose said during a media briefing in Malacañang.

“Invited CEOs and guests tried five types of rum-based cocktails and have each rated its quality based on aroma, taste and balance,” he said.

The participants were asked to suggest a name for the cocktail that will be chosen.

Among the proposed names were Manila Thrilla, Pacquiao’s Punch, Pinoy Colada, Mango Tango, Pinoy Punch, and Jeepney Juice.

As for the result, Jose said he would update the press later.

Present at the Ascott event were APEC National Organizing Committee officials Ambassador Marciano Paynor, Ambassador Angie Santa Catalina, and Ms. Doris Magsaysay-Ho. PND (as)

APEC delegates to meet in Cebu for 3rd Senior Officials’ Meeting
Senior officials and delegates of the 21 member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) will gather in Cebu on August 22 to September 6 for the 3rd APEC Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM-III) and Related Meetings, Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Charles Jose announced on Wednesday.The meeting in Cebu will be the last comprehensive senior officials’ meeting before the APEC Leaders’ Summit in November in Manila, Jose told reporters during a press briefing at the Palace.

He noted that SOM-III will have an intensive 16-day meeting schedule, which includes meetings to finalize the APEC 2015 deliverables, as well as a host of workshops and public-private dialogues.

Organizers expect some 2,000 delegates under 20 APEC working-level policy groups, Jose said.

The SOM-III discussion also follows the template of the previous SOM meetings that centered on three core areas — continuing the mandate of APEC 2014 to strengthen regional economic integration, connectivity and innovation; advancing the APEC 2015 priorities in pursuit of inclusive growth; and shaping a post-2015 vision for the Asia Pacific.

“In particular, SOM-III agenda follows from the outcomes of SOM-II last May in Boracay, where strengthening regional economic integration and fostering the participation of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in global markets were at the top of the agenda,” he said.

In the Cebu meeting, senior officials will discuss the implementation plan for the Boracay action agenda for globalizing MSMEs, which was successfully endorsed by APEC trade ministers during their meeting last May.

At the same time, the SOM-III discussions will continue to monitor the first-year implementation of the APEC connectivity blueprint for improved physical, institutional, and people-to-people connectivity, as well as the next steps for the Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP).

Senior officials are also expected to finalize the Philippine-led APEC services cooperation framework proposal, Jose said, noting that it aims to develop a long-term strategy to increase the region’s competitiveness in services, trade, and investment.

Jose also pointed out that SOM-III places special emphasis on the APEC 2015 priorities of investing in human capital development and building sustainable and resilient communities, particularly with regards to good governance, enhanced economic opportunities for persons with disabilities, and health.

As part of this thrust, Cebu will also host the inaugural meeting of the APEC Group of Friends on Disability, aimed at promoting mainstream participation of persons with disabilities in the economy, as well as the 5th APEC High-Level Meeting on Health and the Economy on August 30 and 31.

The event, to be chaired by Health Secretary Janette Garin and to be attended by APEC health ministers, will tackle preventive health measures against the spread of diseases and pandemics, and the promotion of healthy working environments, according to Jose.

“The high-level meeting directly contributes to the development of the healthy Asia Pacific 2020 roadmap to be endorsed to APEC leaders this November,” he added.

Immediately after SOM-III, the Philippines will host the Structural Reform Ministerial Meeting (SRMM) on September 7 and 8, and the Finance Ministerial Meeting (FMM) on September 10 and 11.

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and the Department of Finance will lead the SRMM and FMM, respectively.

Both ministerial-level meetings will also be held in Cebu. The meeting venues for SOM-III and Related Meetings are Radisson Blu Cebu, Cebu City Marriott Hotel, Marco Polo Plaza Cebu, and Waterfront Hotel Cebu. PND (as)

Foreign Affairs Spokesman clarifies hotel rates issue involving APEC delegates
The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) National Organizing Committee (NOC) has released a statement on the hotel rates in Cebu prior to the 3rd Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM III), for the information of APEC delegates, a foreign affairs official said.In a press briefing in Malacañang on Wednesday, Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Charles Jose said APEC NOC director general Marciano Paynor, Jr. issued a statement, saying that one month before every APEC meeting, delegates are already issued a copy of the administrative circular that contains the names of accredited hotels and their respective rates.

Jose said the Department of Tourism accredits the hotels but it is the APEC NOC that negotiates with the hotels on special rates, and requests that APEC delegates be given priority.

He said some hotels have caught the attention of the media because they have increased their rates.

“Although we negotiated that they lower the rates for APEC delegates months before the event, we are also aware that their rate setting is market-driven and is aligned with rates charged by hotels that are part of their global networks,” Jose explained.

“In fact, these hotels are mostly fully booked as of this moment. Moreover, even if the APEC NOC laid out the accredited hotels for delegates, majority will stay in other hotels, like what happened in SOM-II in Boracay,” he added.

For SOM-III, the rates of hotel rooms in the list of accredited hotels start at P2,400 per night, Jose said, noting that the delegates themselves choose where to stay, while the NOC only gives them options.

“In short, there are accredited hotels but the delegates are free to stay in hotels other than those accredited,” he said.

Asked if the government is preventing hotels from charging very high rates, Jose said if the accredited hotels’ rates are too high for the delegates, they are free to choose hotels that charge lower rates, even if these are not accredited. PND (as)

President Aquino graces opening of modernized ‘Museo ni Manuel Quezon’
President Benigno S. Aquino III joined officials of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) and the Quezon City government during the inauguration of the newly renovated ‘Museo ni Manuel Quezon’ at the Quezon Memorial Shrine on Wednesday. The opening of the modernized museum coincided with the 137th birth anniversary of Quezon, who served as the president of the Commonwealth Republic from 1935 to 1944.

Upon arrival, President Aquino and NHCP Chairperson Dr. Maria Serena Diokno led the flag-raising and wreath-laying ceremonies at the shrine in front of the museum’s entrance.

After the wreath-laying rite, the President witnessed the presentation of a posthumous award to the family of Quezon in recognition of his implementation of the open-door policy that allowed 1,200 Jews to migrate to the Philippines to escape the horrors of the Holocaust.

The posthumous award — the Raoul Wallenberg Medal — was presented by Israel Ambassador to the Philippines Effie Ben-Matityau to President Quezon’s daughter, Zenaida Quezon Avancena, and grandson, Manuel Luis “Manolo” Quezon III.

After the awarding ceremony, President Aquino returned in front of Quezon’s bust to bang the gavel on the table, which marked Quezon’s act of opening the Senate sessions from 1916 until he became president in 1935, to signal the formal opening of the newly refurbished museum.

The President toured the museum, which features the life and political career of Quezon and explains the historical context in which he emerged as the leader of the country.

The museum has a sizeable collection of the late president’s memorabilia, a hologram of Quezon delivering his inaugural address, and various interactive booths and terminals that show information about the Commonwealth period. It also offers other facilities, such as the audiovisual room, which presents a brief documentary about Quezon and the museum; a gallery dedicated to Aurora Quezon; and a recreation of Quezon’s office.

Also present during the museum opening were House of Representatives Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr., Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista and Vice Mayor Maria Josefina Belmonte, and Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Hernando Iriberri. PND (jm)