Are we hosting Apec?-A A +A
As I See It
Friday, September 6, 2013
MAYBE, yes. The Republic of the Philippines has come up with the short list of eight cities and destinations which could be possible as venues for high-level meetings when our country hosts the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit in 2015. This is a high-level series of meetings said to be the biggest and most high-profile annual gathering of world leaders from 21-member economies. This will be hosted by PNoy and leaders from America, Japan and China are expected to attend.
I was told by DOT VI director, lawyer Helen J. Catalbas, that Bacolod City, Iloilo City and the Island of Boracay are included in the short list. Wow, it’s more fun in Western Visayas. This is good for our campaign, ‘Visit Western Visayas First’. I was told also that in the past weeks, a team from Bacolod City and the Province of Negros Occidental was in Metro Manila to present our APEC preparation. Probably, we just don’t know the result of the presentation. Was it excellent, very good, good, bad or disastrous?
Many are asking because Apec hosting concerns our Bacolod City and Negros Occidental. We cannot afford to be caught with our pants down. Can you still remember the reason why Korean golfers did not continue their golf activities here after the third flight? Apec hosting is an international event and this could make or unmake tourism and business in our AOT (Area of Tourism).
Director Catalbas said that in Iloilo City and Boracay, the business sector is already speeding up preparation together with the mayors, congressmen and governors involved. The initial requirements based on certain criteria include security, cleanliness and accessibility. We have not heard of a command conference yet involving all sectors (also the Association of Tourism Officers of Negros Occidental). Tourism officers would want to help also. We are glad that Gov. Freddie has given the tourism officers an important role in his NEGROS FIRST program.
Our presentation and preparation should start from the airport in Silay. We would like to believe that very soon that airport will be an International Airport. The prime movers should shake heaven and earth for the CIQ. Manager Mecine Reyes is very active and does her best for the security and face lifting of that piece of the state-of-the art.
Mayor Oti Montelibano through the Tourism Office of Silay is maintaining the landscape of airport road shoulder. It is planted with santan, the city flower of Silay. CAAP said that an amount of 13.5 million pesos is being proposed for the runway extension of airport in Silay. This has not yet been subjected to bidding. We would like to believe that Mayor Eric of Talisay and Mayor Newks of Bacolod are in good shape for the preparation.
We have many things to consider: security of VIPs, facilities of venues, training of front liners, infrastructure in the area, garbage collection, traffic lights, water supply, round-the-clock power supply, food, media preparation, leisure and entertainment. We are expecting for the countdown. In Iloilo, Sen. Franklin Drilon wants that the Iloilo Convention Center should be operational before 2015. Regular meetings are going on and the residents of Iloilo (those who are interested in the event) are updated. Here in Bacolod, we want to hear tourism noise about our APEC hosting. Drum beating should have started already. Who is calling the shot? We want to see powder burns after the big bangs.
Medical services availability should be reviewed and we are expecting a number of preparatory meetings in the ministerial and senior official levels before the summit. We expect high ranking officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs to frequent the Sugar Bowl and the City of Smiles. Apec aims to support sustainable economic growth and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific Region.
With this, we are preparing in 2015 free and open trade and investment. This will support our program in the ASEAN – promoting and accelerating regional economic integration, encouraging economic and technical cooperation, enhancing human security, and facilitating a favorable and sustainable business environment.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on September 06, 2013.