04 November 2015


10 ways to advance sustainable management and conservation of marine resources for a resilient food supply
Delegates from the 21 member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) converged in Iloilo City last month to take part in the APEC High Level Policy Dialogue on Food Security and Blue Economy, which sought to address such concerns as hunger, and the people’s general health and well-being.

As Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala puts it in his Opening Statement: “Food is a basic need. As one community, we ought to put our strength and ideas together to ensure that there will always be safe and nutritious food on the plates of our citizens.”

According to Secretary Alcala, it is a huge challenge to talk about food security and a sustainable supply chain if marine ecosystems are under threat of degradation due to illegal, unreported and unregulated or IUU fishing, and changing global climate patterns.

He noted that APEC delegates need to come up with responsive and feasible plans and recommendations that will ensure the “sustainability of the economic benefits we get from our seas”.

At the conclusion of the two-day dialogue, the APEC delegates adopted the Iloilo Plan of Action, the product of a dialogue that involved smallholders, including marginal and sub-marginal farmers and entrepreneurs.

In this Plan of Action, one of the priorities identified was ensuring a resilient ocean and coastal resources and ecosystems, coastal communities and sustainable aquaculture.

To advance sustainable management and conservation of oceans and coastal resources and sustainable aquaculture to ensure a resilient food supply, the delegates recommended that APEC economies:

1.) strengthen local, regional and international capacities and collaboration to conserve and manage fishery resources, including to combat IUU fishing;

2.) enhance their capacities and collaboration on research, science and technology application, ecosystem services, conservation, restoration and sustainable development of coastal ecosystems, biodiversity and marine habitats;

3.) expand ongoing efforts to share information on best practices on integrated sustainable management of the coastal and marine environment, including marine protected against him and as, to contribute to Blue Economy and fishery biodiversity;

4.) promote sustainable aquaculture and fisheries practices to achieve Blue Economy, through information sharing, capacity building, sharing of best practice, private sector stakeholders’ engagement and increased cooperation on research development and innovation, taking into account ecosystems-based approaches;

5.) apply innovative farming and processing technologies on edible aquatic plants in the region;

6.) expand research and information sharing on diseases found in farmed fish populations for improved fish health;

7.) increase their collaboration, develop integrated strategies, and enhance monitoring and research on preventing, mitigating and adapting to disasters and the impacts of ocean acidification and climate change, including sea level rise and enhanced storm surge on biodiversity, fisheries and aquaculture to reduce vulnerability;

8.) expand efforts on preventing and mitigating pollution, responsible waste management, and the loss or illegal discarding of fishing gear, to reduce land-based and marine pollution and marine debris;

9.) promote innovative waste management solutions to prevent marine debris;

10.) conduct capacity building and share best practices on Blue Economy to advance sustainable management and conservation of oceans and coastal resources to foster economic growth.

These recommendations will be endorsed to the APEC Leaders who will meet in Manila this month.

Palace launches APEC information channel, public service announcement
As the country’s hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit goes in full swing, Sky Cable Channel 133 will start giving the public updates on the event starting November 9, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said on Wednesday.

“This is part of our effort to bring the hosting to more people because, as the delegates come, coverage will be restricted but we would want our fellow Filipinos to see what will be going on inside and what the activities are,” Valte said during the daily press briefing in Malacañang.

“This is part of our desire to bring the hosting closer to most of our people. The APEC channel will feature information on traffic schemes, as well as air coverage of speeches, meetings, and press briefings.”

The public can tune in at Channel 133 to watch a live broadcast of the arrival of the 20 economic leaders as President Benigno S. Aquino III receives them on November 18, she said.

The channel will serve as the people’s all-access pass to the APEC Economic Leaders’ Week, she added.

Valte further said that apart from the APEC channel, updates will also be available at the Google Playstore, the Apple iTunes Store and the app, MyAPEC, which will feature the APEC schedules, photos and releases.

“We wanted it as a handy complement for journalists also and for delegates who will be covering the APEC,” she said.

Valte also announced the official launch of a public service announcement that they produced in cooperation with the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office (PCDSPO), and Radio TV Malacañang (RTVM).

The government media relations entities involved are under the Strategic Messaging Committee of the APEC 2015 National Organizing Council, she said, adding that the public service announcement aims to relay to the public the government preparations for the APEC hosting.

The announcement, hosted by National Youth Commissioner Dingdong Dantes, explains the APEC as an organization and how it benefits member economies. The announcement also includes traffic rerouting and other information.

“We will be putting this material online and we hope that netizens will share it and will get to know more about the APEC and why we are doing this and what we want to achieve from our hosting,” Valte said as she thanked Dantes for volunteering his time and talent in making the announcement. PND (as)

More than 10 APEC leaders have confirmed summit attendance, says Palace
More than 10 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders have already confirmed their attendance at the upcoming regional gathering, a Palace official has said.

During a media briefing in Malacañang on Wednesday, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said that they also expect Chinese President Xi Jinping to attend, even though he has not yet made a confirmation.

“To my knowledge, not yet, but there are no indications that he will not come,” Valte said when asked if President Xi will attend the summit.

“Thus far, their home office has been working with us, kasi may mga advance visits ‘yan, may mga advance teams. They are all represented.”

Valte also said the government is not overreacting in its preparations for the APEC and is just working to make the summit orderly and safe for the leaders.

“Hindi lang po kasi ang mga 20 na economic leaders ang kailangan nating i-secure, kailangan din po ang mga delegado, and we want them to have a good experience here in the Philippines,” she said, noting that the government wants to replicate what other countries had done when they hosted the APEC in the past.

For instance, when China hosted the APEC summit last year, they managed the traffic well, limited flights to the airport in Beijing, and deployed additional personnel, she said, adding that similar preparations were done in Indonesia, the United States, Japan, and Russia.

The government will impose no-fly zones on November 17, 19, and 20. The no-fly zone will however be lifted on November 18 as all leaders are expected to be in the country by that time.

Valte also asked for public patience, especially those who will be affected by the traffic rerouting.

“Humihingi po kami talaga ng pasensya at nang inyong kooperasyon. Lahat naman po tayo gugustuhing maidaos nang maayos ng pamahalaan ang darating na APEC Summit at umaasa po tayo sa inyong kooperasyon,” she said. PND (as)

Philippines told: Ensure ‘inclusive development’ for citizens; refrain from ‘uncritically’ jumping into APEC’s ‘trading bandwagon’
A leading socio-political analyst has reminded the Philippine government to ensure “inclusive development” for Filipinos during discussions at the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders Meeting (AELM).

Assistant professor at the De La Salle University and opinion columnist at Al Jazeera and The Huffington Post, Richard Heydarian, on Wednesday warned the Philippines against “uncritically” jumping into the APEC’s “trading bandwagon”.,

“As for the Philippines, we have to carefully evaluate the pros and cons of each of these initiatives and not uncritically jump into any trading bandwagon,” he added. “We have to make sure we come on top and create inclusive development for our citizens.”

Heydarian said that during the leaders’ meeting on November 18 and 19, the United States and China will go head-to-head on the competing free trade agreements both are pushing for.

The US is pushing for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, which Heydarian described as “a high-standard trade liberalization scheme aimed at a more comprehensive overhaul of member economies, greatly benefiting American multinationals”.

It is the cornerstone of the Obama administration’s economic policy in the Asia Pacific, with the first round of just-concluded negotiations including Singapore, Brunei,
New Zealand, Chile, Australia, Peru, Vietnam, Malaysia, Mexico, Canada and Japan.

It aims to deepen trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region, a key destination for US manufactured goods, agricultural products and services suppliers.

On the other hand, China will be urging the regional bloc to agree with the Free Trade Agreements and Regional Trading Agreements (FTAAP), China’s landmark initiative during the APEC summit in Beijing last year.

Heydarian said the FTAAP will be less stringent, “but will heavily benefit Chinese exporters”.

He added that Beijing will also likely invite APEC member economies to look into its major infrastructure spending initiatives under the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and Maritime Silk Road projects.

The Philippines said it is still reviewing the possibility of joining the AIIB, an initiative by China that is focused on supporting infrastructure development in the Asia-Pacific region.

The creation of the AIIB, however, happened amid rising tensions between Beijing and Manila over competing claims in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

The AELM will be held at the Philippine International Convention Center on November 18 and 19.

Although there is no complete list yet of leaders who would be attending the gathering, US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin have already confirmed their participation.

There is no word yet on the attendance of Chinese President Xi Jinping, although National Organizing Council (NOC) Director General Ambassador Marciano Paynor, Jr. said there was no indication any of the 20 leaders will not be attending the November meeting. (APEC Communications Group)

President Aquino against black propaganda, says Palace official
A Malacañang official on Wednesday denied allegations that the Aquino administration is involved in black propaganda to eliminate the rivals of Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II in next year’s elections.“The President has never condoned any black propaganda, does not condone its doing; in fact the President has been a victim of it many times himself, as such hindi po siya gagawa ng ganyan. Hindi po ‘yan polisiya, hindi po ‘yan pagkatao ng Pangulong Aquino, so linawin lang natin that I speak for the President when I say that,” Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said during a press briefing at the Palace.

Congressional candidate Harry Roque, Jr. of the Kabalikat ng Mamamayan (Kabayan) party-list group recently warned the public to closely watch the administration allies who are resorting to a “legal coup d’etat” to ensure Roxas’ victory.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Roque said Roxas is using LP’s influence in the courts to get rid of presidential contenders, such as Senator Grace Poe and Vice President Jejomar Binay, and Rodrigo Duterte, should the Davao City mayor decide to run.

Poe’s residency and citizenship remains in question; Binay is facing corruption and plunder charges; while Duterte is being linked to the so-called Davao Death Squad.

Valte called the claims baseless as she stressed that using black propaganda is simply out of President Aquino’s character.

“Doon sa isyu nang sabihin na nating binabawasan ang makakalaban, again hindi po… Again, I speak for the President when I say that wala ho ‘yan sa pagkatao niya. Ang Pangulong Aquino mismo noong 2010, lumaban ho siya… Marami siyang nakalaban, hindi ho natin nakita ang ganyang attitude sa Pangulong Aquino,” she explained.

“Lagi hong patas lumaban ang Pangulong Aquino. Kahit hindi ho patas ang laban sa kanya, lagi hong patas lumaban ang Pangulong Aquino,” Valte further said. PND (jm)