12 November 2015


Secretary Coloma leads opening of APEC Expo Philippines 2015
Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. on Thursday graced the opening of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Expo Philippines 2015 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City, which is part of the country’s hosting of this year’s APEC summit.

In his welcome remarks, Secretary Coloma also noted that the International Media Center at the World Trade Center, where the expo is located, will be the home of journalists covering next week’s APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting.

“It will be the place from which the media professionals and journalists will be doing their important work of conveying the important events and information emanating from the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting,” he said.

Filipinos are extending the best of the warmth of their hospitality to all the friends and visitors arriving in the country for the APEC summit, he said.

He thanked government partners from Cebu and Mandaue City for their assistance and support in organizing the APEC Expo Philippines 2015, which features the products of the best Filipino craftsmen.

Coloma said he hopes the expo opens up opportunities for excellently crafted, high-quality, Philippine-made products in the world market.

“It is said that the way to make an event most memorable is to give the people who experience it a tangible memento of that event,” he said.

“And so therefore, the souvenirs that are being exhibited—the souvenir items, the handicrafts, the excellent work of Filipino artisans that are here will serve as a memento of the unique experience that is APEC 2015 in the Philippines.”

The expo highlights the country’s push for the inclusion of small and medium businesses in the global value chain that is seen to spur regional trade.

The products featured in the expo are works of small and medium enterprises that are aiming for world-class products and global competition, he said.

In the process, he added, the country is laying the foundations for sustainable growth, upon which the Philippines’ APEC hosting is anchored through the theme, “Building Inclusive Economies and Building a Better World”.

The APEC Expo Philippines 2015 was organized by the Mandaue Chamaber of Commerce and Industry, Balikbayan Handicrafts Corp., and 30 other participating Philippine micro, and small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

The expo features furniture, home decors and accessories, food products, fashion accessories, designer gowns and many others. PND (as)

Palace condemns murder of Bulacan judge
Malacañang has condemned the murder of Judge Wilfredo Nieves of the Bulacan Regional Trial Court Branch in Malolos on Wednesday.Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said the government is doing everything possible to arrest the perpetrators.

“The killers of Judge (Wilfredo) Nieves are being tracked as the police and the government are determined to bring them to the bar of justice. We recall that Judge Nieves was responsible for the speedy trial of a high-profile carnapping case, which resulted in the conviction of known carnapping suspects. We condemn this act of violence. The government is doing everything possible to bring them to the bar of justice,” Secretary Coloma said during a press briefing at the World Trade Center on Thursday.

Nieves was gunned down while on his way home from his courtroom at the Capitol Compound.

Reports said the judge was ambushed at an intersection near the Malolos Industrial Park along MacArthur Highway in Barangay Tikay at about 4:45 p.m. on Wednesday.

A statement from the Supreme Court said Judge Nieves succumbed to multiple gunshot wounds in different parts of the body.
When asked to comment on the possibility of allowing judges to carry guns for security reasons, the Palace official said it is up to the Supreme Court to decide on the matter.

“The Supreme Court is the administrator of the judicial system and they are in the best position to determine what arrangements are appropriate for the line of work that they perform. The government, through its security agencies, is willing to work with the judiciary in determining what are the appropriate measures for improving or ensuring the security of our court officials,” he explained.

The Regional Trial Court Judges Association of Bulacan also condemned the murder, demanding that “this senseless killing be solved immediately and that the perpetrators be brought to justice”. PND (jm)

Security intensified for upcoming APEC Leaders’ Summit – Paynor
Security preparations for the 21 heads of state who will arrive in Manila for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Summit next week have been further strengthened, APEC 2015 National Organizing Council Director General Marciano Paynor, Jr. said on Thursday.

“Because of the very high profile nature of our guests and of course, the nature of the world security today, we have to be ready and we have to be prepared,” Ambassador Paynor said during a media briefing at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.

Among the leaders who are expected to attend the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting on November 18 to19 are US President Barack Obama, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Paynor said security arrangements for the leaders have been planned by the Presidential Security Group (PSG) in coordination with the security teams of the foreign leaders.

He said possible threats against the leaders are considered in every place they go, thus, these should be addressed accordingly.

“We tweaked the security arrangements depending on the threat assessment … depending on the leaders who are coming,” he said.

Paynor said police personnel in the National Capital Region have been stretched and even complemented by those from other regions.

He said the stringent security preparations are usually done during APEC events.

He also assured the public that cell sites of telecommunication companies will not be blocked next week.

“So, at this point we will continue to have our signal,” he said.

Paynor said preparations for the final APEC meetings, which will start Friday through the Concluding Senior Officials Meeting, are 95 percent to 97 percent ready but they are still scrutinizing minute details to ensure the success of the biggest international event to be hosted by the country since 1996.

“The President (Benigno S. Aquino III) is on top of everything and he has given us the directive that our hosting must be a success from all points,” he said.

“This is really a production of sorts where you have 21 different leaders who have a common agenda, common schedule, but they have also their own. We have to ensure that each economy’s agenda will be followed hassle-free, and that they come out of here feeling satisfied that they have done their work, that their objectives were met. And at that point, we can say that we have had a successful hosting of APEC 2015,” Paynor said. (APEC-PCOO Communications Team)

ABAC chair shows how APEC can be small business-inclusive
Instead of owning the trucks for her logistics company, Doris Magsaysay-Ho is instead planning to rent them from single-truck owners.

The president and chief executive officer of A. Magsaysay Inc. said this is one way small businesses can become part of the global supply chain — one of the 23 recommendations of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Advisory Council (ABAC) to the grouping’s economic leaders.

Adopting such a business strategy is not simply altruistic on her part because it decreases her truck maintenance costs, Magsaysay-Ho said.

This is what it means to be inclusive, she said, adding that governments must develop policies that support trade and investment linkages between micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and big business.

Magsaysay-Ho, who chairs this year’s ABAC, noted that MSMEs are the backbone of most APEC economies, accounting for more than 97 percent of enterprises in the region and contributing 60 percent to 90 percent of employment in the APEC.

“The region’s vitality depends on the well-being of MSMEs…We (thus) call on APEC economies to implement measures that would help MSMEs adopt innovation, gain access to finance, enhance participation in the global market, and make them more resilient,” she said.

She said advancements in promoting economic integration and removing barriers to free trade will be useless if MSMEs do not benefit from the opportunities they create.

As part of the APEC, the ABAC has organized the fourth and concluding ABAC Meeting for 2015, the APEC SME Summit, and the ABAC Dialogue with Leaders. APEC Communications Group

P10 billion budget for Philippine hosting of APEC is decent, needed, says organizer
The P10 billion budget allotted for the Philippines’ hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is a moderate figure and less than the expected expenditure, director general of the APEC 2015 National Organizing Council (NOC), Marciano Paynor, Jr., said on Thursday.

“I always say (this) is a very decent amount… something we actually need,” Ambassador Paynor said during a press briefing at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.

The NOC was created for the country’s hosting of this year’s APEC, a forum promoting free trade and economic cooperation among 21 economies in the Asia-Pacific region. The Philippines is a founding member of the APEC.

Paynor explained that the P10 billion budget went to the hosting of at least 47 meetings from January until November 13 to 19.

He also argued that the fund was not used to acquire new equipment prior to
the start of the meetings.

President Benigno S. Aquino III earlier said that the Philippines could host the
APEC on existing facilities to avoid building white elephants.

Paynor said that the P10 billion budget, which came from the 2014 and 2015 budget of the Department of Foreign Affairs’ (DFA) international commitments fund, is an “investment” that stems from the Philippines’ membership in multilateral forums like the APEC.

He further said that the Philippine government needs to ensure the security of the visiting 20 leaders and heads of states coming to Manila for the meeting, and preparations for this will cost a significant amount.

“We have to be ready. We have to prepare,” Paynor said.

He also earlier argued that the Philippine budget for hosting the regional forum is a small fraction of the US$95 million spent by China for landscaping the venue of the APEC 2014 summit in Yanqi Lake, 50 kilometers northeast of Beijing.

For the summit alone, China built a special conference center, a waterfront boutique hotel, and VIP villas.

Reports said it also spent US$6 billion on the preparations for the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting (AELM). PCOO-APEC Communications Team

APEC heightens awareness about inclusive business models
The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is moving forward to promote inclusive business (IB) models in the region by raising awareness about pro-poor economic activities among its 21 member economies.

During the press conference on the High-Level Dialogue (HLD) on IB in Makati City on Thursday, it was emphasized that adopting IB models will help the region achieve inclusive growth.

Inclusive business refers to core business models of commercially viable companies that provide solutions to the problems of poor and low-income communities.

Unlike corporate social responsibility activities that treat poor communities purely as beneficiaries, inclusive businesses consider the low-income group as economic agents because companies providing these solutions still earn income.

An example of a local IB model where a poor community is part of the supply chain is Kennemer Foods’ Cacao Growership Program. In this program, small farmers supply cacao beans to the company, helping them increase their annual income by sevenfold.

Another IB model is Manila Water’s “Tubig para sa Barangay” (Water for the Community) program in which low-income earners serve as customers for the company. In this model, the company helped 1.6 million low-income communities in Manila gain access to potable water at a lower cost, as it cuts the price of water from P150 per cubic meter to P7 per cubic meter.

“In the context of APEC, this (inclusive business) is very consistent to our theme, ‘Building Inclusive Economy, Building a Better World’,” Department of Trade and Industry Undersecretary Adrian Cristobal, Jr. said.

Cristobal mentioned that the Philippines, in its hosting this year, has introduced the concept of IB models in various APEC meetings.

He cited the Boracay Action Agenda, which pushes for the globalization of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs); the Cebu Action Plan, which calls for more inclusive financing; and the Iloilo Initiative that aims to provide conventional interventions for capacity building of MSMEs, as initiatives that will support the use of IB models in the APEC.

Prior to the HLD on IB, the APEC conducted the Public-Private Dialogue on IB in August and an IB session during the APEC Women and the Economy Fora in September.

“We have already convinced Peru to continue this during their hosting next year,” added Cristobal.

Adopting IB models to promote inclusive growth is critical in Asia Pacific as the region is home to more than 700 million people living below the US$1.25 per day poverty line. (APEC-PCOO Communications Team)

Show APEC delegates our brand of hospitality, Filipinos told
The government is encouraging Filipinos to proudly “show the brand of hospitality that we are well-known for” to the 21 heads of states, including President Benigno S. Aquino III, plus the leader of a guest country, and the thousands of delegates who will attend the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Summit to be hosted by Manila.

Ambassador Marciano Paynor, Jr., director general of the APEC 2015 National Organizing Council (NOC), on Thursday asked everyone’s indulgence, especially those who live in Manila, for all the inconveniences that the annual APEC meetings would cause.

“(APEC 2015) involves not only the government but also the people, hosting this group of leaders who have in their agenda the facilitation of trade within the region,” he said during a press briefing held at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.

According to Paynor, many APEC meetings were held in several cities across the country and residents also experienced the same inconvenience.

“We have been hosting the APEC since December 2014, and we have had 200-plus meetings,” he said. “It is only now that we experience inconvenience because we have world leaders coming in here.”

Paynor stressed that security is heightened in the Philippine capital city due to the congregation of high-risk leaders.

“We need to understand that threats follow world leaders wherever they go,” he pointed out.

He said the policy is that when the leaders move, there should be no
traffic moving.

“This is not just done here in the Philippines, but also in all APEC summits that I myself have attended in the past. This is the norm. We cannot do any less. That is the inconvenience that security by necessity creates,” Paynor noted.

He said holidays were declared so that traffic could be managed and movements of the leaders to hotels and venues would be unhampered.

“Rest assured, the NOC has taken into consideration the safety of our citizens,” he said.

For next week, Paynor disclosed that they have on registry more than 5,000 delegates who will be arriving in the country for the week-long event.

“We expect 7,000 all here in Metro Manila,” he said. “That is the reason why the NCR’s (National Capital Region) normal police forces have been stretched. We brought in augmentations from other regions.”

He further reported that more than half of the APEC leaders are coming from Turkey and that they are expected to arrive within hours or minutes from each other.

For this, the government has created five arrival points for APEC leaders at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

“Departure will be the same, but easier to manage because half of the leaders will be leaving for Kuala Lumpur for the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Summit,” Paynor revealed.

He said President Aquino is “on top of everything” and that his directive is to ensure the country’s hosting is a success from all points of view.

“We have to ensure that each economy’s agenda will be hassle-free, that they have done their work, and that their objectives were met,” Paynor said. “At that point, we can say that we have had a successful hosting of the APEC.” (PCOO-APEC Communications Team)

APEC officials to iron out services, finance issues during Concluding Senior Officials’ Meeting
APEC senior officials still have to thresh out issues on services as well as finance during the Concluding Senior Officials’ Meeting (CSOM) scheduled on Friday, the APEC 2015 SOM chair said on Thursday.

In an interview, Laura Del Rosario, the chair of the APEC 2015 SOM said they will discuss tomorrow services and finance in the concluding SOM meeting.

“We just need to finalize the documents on services. So far I think we have reached alignment already on what we want to do,” she told reporters in an interview.

“We want to eventually do a roadmap for competitive services. But that roadmap again will be done by Peru. In effect what we have done here is to lay down the groundwork and the direction.”

She said APEC members want to make sure that services will be an area that they can talk about thoroughly.

Services is complicated because it’s like products and if the list of services in the general agreement on trade in services is looked into, there are multiple areas in this sector, she said.

This is the first time APEC covered services, a new area for the trade bloc’s discussions. In the past, it used to cover only trade in goods.

Services make up 54 percent of the Philippine economy and sometimes it is bigger than manufacturing, according to Del Rosario.

A new world of employment opportunities in the region open up once trade in services is unlocked, she said.

“And because of this of course, in our pursuit of services, we’re in a way also creating the road for young people to do innovation,” she noted.

And because of the inclusive growth, the region’s micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) also has wider access to new opportunities.

With the use of new technologies and Internet connectivity, small crafts person or artisans can immediately grow their business and become global, be it in fashion, food or other endeavors, she said.

Another area that needs fine tuning is finance, the SOM chair said.

In the quality growth, APEC senior officials also have to discuss certain areas about finance, which is another complicated area.

“As I said finance is always there and they have to look at the principles of financial regulation because finance is a little complicated right now,” Del Rosario said. (PCOO-APEC Communications Team)

Absence of Widodo will not affect APEC Summit – SOM Chair
Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s absence will not affect the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Meeting to be held here next week, according to the chair of the APEC 2015 Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM).

Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Laura del Rosario said in a press briefing that whatever position Indonesia has on issues affecting the region will be reiterated by his own foreign and trade ministers.

“We all know (President Widodo’s) trade minister is very liberal in his decision and knows the issue on APEC,” said Del Rosario. “Indonesia will make sure its position will be reflected at the Senior Officials’ Meeting and the Leaders’ Declaration.”

She said as disclosed by Indonesian senior officials, there are things in Jakarta that need Widodo’s attention.

The Indonesian leader will be coming from the G-20 Leaders’ Summit in Turkey and he needs to attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Kuala Lumpur.

“This is why he decided to get a period in between to go home and address some domestic concerns,” said Del Rosario who noted that President Widodo is “really very excited” about economic issues as his government will focus on economic growth.

The APEC SOM chair said that when Indonesia President was visiting in the US recently, he had to cut his visit because of the massive forest and land fires in his country.

“That’s what he’s trying to looking into,” said Del Rosario.

It was earlier reported that Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla has been assigned to attend the APEC Summit in Manila on behalf of the Indonesian President.

The reasons behind Jokowi’s refusal to attend the annual conference was not specified. PCOO-APEC Communications Team

Philippines, China talks possible during APEC Leaders’ Summit — Paynor
President Benigno S. Aquino III and Chinese President XI Jinping will have an opportunity to discuss issues during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting (AELM) next week but no formal bilateral talk has been set.

Director General of the APEC 2015 National Organizing Council, Marciano Paynor, Jr., on Thursday explained that it is a practice in the APEC Leaders’ Summit that the current, previous and future hosts of the forum sit together in a troika.

He said the seating arrangement calls for the President of the host country to be in the middle, and the leaders of the previous and future summits on either side.

“Normally they are seated together. So, the opportunity for the President and President Xi Jinping will always be there if they wish to talk about issues that are bilateral in nature,” Ambassador Paynor said during a media briefing at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.

Paynor noted that President Aquino is set to have 11 bilateral meetings next week, while discussions for other bilateral talks are still a work in progress, given the very tight schedule of the visiting leaders.

He said more than half of the 20 leaders will come from Antalya, Turkey after the G20 Leaders’ Summit on November 15 to 16, to attend the AELM in Manila on November 18 to 19.

Some of these leaders will also immediately fly out to attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, set on November 18 to 22.

“So, whatever free time they have in between will be arranged, and most of these will be arranged at the last minute,” he said.

Paynor said the bilateral talks between President Aquino and the leaders of 11 other countries will be held either in Sofitel Philippine Plaza in Pasay City, in the hotel they will be staying in, or in Solaire Resort & Casino in Parañaque City. (APEC PCOO Communications Team)