Duterte still hesitant about Apec hosting

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Tuesday, February 11, 2014


DAVAO City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has not yet made up his mind whether he wants the city to host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Summit 2015.

The reasons: safety and security, and financial issues.

"I do not have any decision now. They're coming over to talk. I need to talk things over with them," Duterte said in an interview at his office Monday afternoon.

He said the proposal "sounds good" but there are other things that need to be considered.

"I have to listen to them why they'd choose Davao. I'd like to talk to them because Davao City is in Mindanao. Alam ninyo ang dimensions ng Mindanao. Davao City can be peaceful, very peaceful. But it can also be a troubled land. We've suffered terrorism. So I have to listen," he said.

Davao City has been shortlisted, along with eight others, to host some of the Apec Summit 2015 like the senior official meetings (SOMs) and ministerial meetings (MMs). These are Metro Manila, Tagaytay, Clark, Subic, Cebu, Iloilo, Bacolod, and Boracay.

"I'm not really fond of competing. I'd rather want us to be low-profile," Duterte said.

In a separate interview, City administrator Melchor Quitain said the mayor is also considering the financial aspect.

"The mayor is not very keen on hosting the convention because we might not have the financial capacity considering the magnitude of the convention. We might have to spend much money," Quitain told Sun.Star Davao in an interview.

City Tourism Office (CTO) officer-in-charge Lisette Marques said the Apec National Organizing Committee (Apec-NOC) team led by Ambassador Ma. Angelina Sta. Catalina, Apec's deputy director general for conference services, conducted a two-day ocular visit in Davao City.

She said the team is "very impressed" with the city's facilities, governance and security.

"We are prepared. We have been hosting similar events like this. With the added facilities, we are more than prepared," Marques said.

She said the team was impressed more on the Central 911.

She said the city already hosted Apec way back in 1996.

"We want to assess the impact sa atong local coffers. Di lang sa economic sectors, consider also other aspects like the traffic. Depende din yan sa klase-klaseng meetings," she said.

Marques said the city has "more than enough," taking into consideration that it now has around 6,000 rooms, with more than 160 accommodations.

"This is not just a Davao hosting. It's a Philippine hosting that resonate their vision on an inclusive growth," Marques said.

Quitain said although the feedback is favorable to Davao City, it does not mean that the city is already sure of hosting the convention.

"Also from the side of the city, we also have to consider the financial condition of the city because that is an international event and right now. I don't think we have the financial capacity to hold such international convention or meeting," Quitain said.

He added: "As of now, we still do not know what expenses will be shouldered by the city and what expenses will be shouldered by the National Government because this is actually a National Government event. We've only been asked to host conference and give our support."

During the department heads meeting Monday, City Planning and Development Officer Engr. Mario Luis Jacinto said the city might finance on the "incidental expenses."

Retired General Francisco Villaroman, chief of Public Safety and Security Command Center, who was also present during the meeting, suggested that the city has to reconsider the possibility of hosting the convention.

"Since this is Apec, it is known all over the world. Davao City ang mapipili kasi we are known to be the world's fourth safest city in the world. Siguro after APEC at maging successful to, siguro Miss Universe naman ang sumunod na mag host dito," he said. (Sun.Star Davao)

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

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