‘Apec team impressed of Davao City’

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Monday, February 10, 2014


MEMBERS of the national organizing committee (NOC) of the 23rd Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Summit in 2015, who came to visit Davao City last week for the final ocular check, were impressed with city's facilities, an official said.

In an interview Monday, City Tourism Office (CTO) officer-in-charge Lisette Marques said the inspection team, headed by Ambassador Ma. Angelina Sta. Catalina and National Defense undersecretary Natalio Ecarma III, was tight in re-evaluating last week the inspections that were previously made.

She added the capabilities of the city when it comes to security and conference venues for the high-ranking officials of the 21 economies exceeded their expectations.

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"They (inspectors) validated what the previous inspection team did. Tinitingnan and conference venues, accommodation sites, and establishments (Davao)," she said.

Marques also cited good governance as one of biggest draws of Davao. "Nakikita naman nila yung mga ordinances in place at nai-implement sa city," she said.

The ocular inspection was the last of a series of inspections after Boracay, Cebu, Tagaytay, Clark, Subic, Bacolod, Iloilo, and Metro Manila.

The city placed its bid in the third quarter of 2013 where Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who was then the acting mayor, signed the bid letter, along with the proposals, expressing the city's interest to play host to some of Apec meetings.

Davao then was shortlisted as one of the possible venues for the senior official meetings (SOMs) and ministerial meetings.

Whether Davao wins some of the hosting rights, Marques said results will be known by end of February, along with the distribution of Apec meeting venues to chosen cities.

"(There will be) more than hundred meetings. They were highlighting that the Apec hosting of the Philippines, hindi lang Manila, but the entire country. Davao has certain features, and uniqueness that will give a whole picture of what Philippines is all about," she said.

The kind of meetings that will be given to any prospective host cities will depend on the hotels, and other facilities.

"Nay certain certain degree of meetings kung ano ang ibibigay sa city," she said.

Some improvements will also be made to the city should it ever clinch the hosting rights because it will highlight immediately the things that need upgrading.

"And because it's national hosting, maraming improvements na gagawin sa city, for exmaple, airport expansion, ma-highlight because it's a priority activity," she added.

Marques pointed out that the SMX Convention Center Davao is not the only venue that was seen to hold the meetings, but hotels were also being considered.

"We have several possible conferences that they have seen, not just SMX. In fact, when they saw SMX that's more than enough. Hotels have meeting facilities, isa rin yun tinitingnan nila," she said.

Delegating some of the meetings to hotels that have big meeting venues is also a way of support because the city wants them to have an increased occupancy rate.

If ever, an impact assessment will also be made after the release of the decision to evaluate whether the city will have positive gains out of the Apec meetings.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on February 11, 2014.

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