Ready in 7 weeks

ORGANIZERS of some Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings in Cebu have seven weeks left to speed up road projects and map out safe, traffic-free routes for delegates.

Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III told reporters a plan to suspend classes on the busiest APEC days is being considered, to lessen traffic, but no dates have been decided on yet.

He met yesterday with Mandaue Mayor Jonas Cortes, Lapu-Lapu Mayor Paz Radaza and Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama to discuss issues like the road projects, especially in Mandaue City.

Davide said that the officials will ask the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to speed up work on some road projects, including those on A.S. Fortuna, A.C. Cortes and Plaridel St.

“Traffic is the biggest concern, so we will try to look at that during our inspection,” said Radaza.

The APEC website lists two events in Cebu in August, starting with the Third Senior Officials’ Meeting and “related meetings” from Aug. 22 to Sept. 6.

There will be 35 to 40 meetings daily on Aug. 24 to Sept 11, Oct. 8 to 10, and Oct. 12 to 13 in Cebu, Ambassador Marciano Paynor Jr. said in an earlier interview.

In Cebu

The ambassador heads the APEC national organizing committee, similar to the role he played when the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) met in Manila and Cebu in January 2007.

There will be five meetings in Cebu in September, focusing on structural reforms and finance. Iloilo will host eight APEC meetings, while Manila will host four.

In October, six meetings will take place in Cebu, including the transportation ministers’ meeting on Oct. 8 to 10 and the energy ministers’ meeting on Oct. 12 to 14.

All nine meetings in November will be held in Manila and Makati, including the international business community’s dialogue with the heads of state, the CEO Summit and the SME Summit.

“We should be one. And we will give our support,” said Rama after yesterday’s executive committee meeting. “We can’t afford that people in the national level will look at us and see us playing politics.”

Forward

“We are hosting a major international event so we should put our best foot forward,” said Davide, who presided over yesterday’s meeting with the mayors and government agency representatives.

He said he was thankful that Ireneo Fidel Cornista Jr., special assistant to the national organizing committee’s director-general, was available to relay the local organizers’ concerns.

He said he will suggest to Ambassador Paynor to tell the DPWH to speed up the roadworks.

“There may be a point when we will suspend classes to that the traffic can be smoother,” said the governor.

Davide said the organizers have not yet decided to recommend declaring non-working holidays during the busiest days.

“What is certain is that there will be days when classes will be suspended,” Davide added.
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