Preparations for APEC summit on track, says Palace official

MANILA, Oct. 9 (PNA) — Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte on Friday said preparations for the country’s hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is on track.

“The preparations are going well. In fact, part of our challenge is that to most people who are familiar with APEC, we know that the hosting of an APEC is a year-long engagement. Although marami sa atin ang inaakala na parang isang linggong summit lang ito, but that is the conclusion,” Undersecretary Valte said during a press briefing in Malacañang.

Some APEC events are held in the provinces, including the ongoing transportation ministerial meeting chaired by Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Abaya in Cebu.

“As we speak, we are currently hosting the transportation ministerial (meeting) in Cebu, chaired by Secretary Jun Abaya. Ito po ang nagiging challenge sa atin na merong ongoing pero forward-looking po tayo at nagpe-prepare pa po doon sa iba. Puspusan na ang training ng ating mga kapulisan para naman po doon sa mga security measures na i-implement natin and very soon, we will be sharing with you the information on re-routing, on the no-fly zones, etcetera, that we will be implementing,” said Valte.

She said the APEC 2015 National Organizing Committee has a Joint Security Task Committee that handles the security, as well as peace and order, during the APEC.

The committee is composed of the Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Department of National Defense, and the Department of Interior and Local Government.

“Binubuo po ito ng mga opisinang may kinalaman po sa seguridad at sila po ang nagbubuo at mag-i-implement ng ating mga plano, lalo na sa trapik. Ang alam ko, PNP po ang on the ground doon sa traffic preparations,” she said.

The Palace official likewise appealed for cooperation from the public to ensure a well-organized APEC hosting.

“Ngayon pa lang po humihingi na kami ng kooperasyon ng publiko dahil dalawampu — kasama ho ang Pangulong Aquino — dalawapu’t isa na mga lider ng mga miyembrong ekonomiya ng APEC ang darating. Ibig sabihin po, marami tayong mga hakbang na pang-seguridad na kailangan talagang mailapat para maging maganda ang hosting natin dito sa summit na ito,” she said.

Valte noted that the arrival of 20 world leaders in Manila next month is expected to make it difficult for people to move around because of detours.

“We suggest that you take advantage of this opportunity to spend time with your family and to perhaps, go outside of Metro Manila, kasi medyo intense po ang ating preparasyon,” she said.

“Meron pong mga road closures, meron pong mga no-fly times, so expect more of the same po. Hindi naman road closures, but expect that it will be a little hard to move around especially when the leaders arrive in Manila,” she explained.

The APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting, an annual regional forum attended by 21 world leaders, is slated for November 18 to 19 at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City. (PNA)