Palace defends Php10-B budget for 2015 APEC hosting

By Jelly F. Musico

MANILA, Nov. 13 (PNA) – Malacanang on Friday defended the Php10-billion budget for the hosting of the 2015 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), saying it is the country’s economy that will benefit most from the amount that the Philippines invested for the prestigious event.

”For the attendance alone, it is expected that more or less 10,000 people including 3,000 media delegates, will participate in the APEC. Each one of them will spend that will go directly to our economy,” Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. explained in an interview with Radyo ng Bayan.

Except for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indonesia President Joko Widodo, all the leaders of the 21-nation APEC will attend the Economic Leaders’ Meeting to be held from November 17 to 20 at the Philippine International Convention Center.

Coloma urged the public to look at the long-term benefit the country will reap from hosting the APEC which the Philippines hosted again after 19 years.

”We have to look at the bigger picture. We have to invest now. What we have planted will bear fruit in the future which is the favored investment,” Coloma said.

Coloma said APEC hosting will also help the country in attracting more tourists.

”Big part of the development in the world is based on the so-called people-to-people friendship and cooperation. According to my friend, ‘an investor starts as a tourist; happy tourist becomes interested investor,” the PCOO chief said.

Coloma said the Php10 billion budget was used for the preparatory events, the facilities and for the meetings that have actually started last January.

“It is not spent for two-day economic leaders’ meeting alone,” he said.

With the theme ‘Building inclusive economic and building a better world,’ Coloma is hoping that all the citizens of the APEC members will benefit from every agenda that the world leaders will discuss during the event.

Coloma said the national organization committee of the 2015 APEC is leaving no stone unturned to assure a successful hosting of the economic world leaders’ meeting.

”While we are hosting, we continue to find opportunity on how to improve what we are doing. We are trying our best to have flawless, seamless and hassle-free hosting that our visitors will feel the warmth and hospital of the Filipinos and for them to know that ‘It’s more fun in the Philippines,” Coloma added. (PNA)